Illiteracy, education and internet access: three linked factors in the ‘digital divide’

illiteracy_digital_divide2Today, half of the world’s population are still not online. While Asia has the highest number of people without access, Africa leads the world in the percentage of the population without Internet connection at 88%. Furthermore, in the countries that are connected, male Internet users outnumber their female counterparts in every region of the world.

For lower income families the cost of staying connected is also a significant factor that increases inequality.

The ‘digital divide’ we face globally is not only about access to the internet, but also the opportunities to make use of it. The gap also encompasses a number of other discrepancies; including the quality of digital infrastructure, the speed of connectivity and the training and skills required to navigate such technology in remote areas.

Illiteracy, education and Internet access are all linked. How can communities take ownership over changing this without relying on connectivity?

A digital solution

illiteracy_digital_divideIs there 21st-century technology which supports education regardless of internet access? Yes, Sun Books.

Is there a solution which provides localized e-books and educational resources? Yes! SunBooks.org

Sun Books is an App which is preloaded in a solar-powered device. It contains digital content and e-books that are provided to classrooms for early primary level children along with training to teachers involved. The use of the device will be effective regardless of the access to the internet or electricity

Does it have local and suitable educational content? Yes, the content comes in the local language and it has locally created e-books and resources.

Is it free to use? Yes! No data costs.

Until network providers are able to support off the grid locations, solutions such as Sun Books can act as a useful resource in these locations.

illiteracy_digital_divideThe way ahead

Closing the gap in technology access is critical in the future. Sun Books is addressing the problem!

In 2019, Sun Books project will seek new ways to expand our existing technologies to more remote populations in a sustainable and affordable way.

To do so, the initiative welcomes partners to work on alongside these communities to develop and support innovative and locally relevant solutions.

Visit our website: Sun Books – World Literacy Foundation.

Andrew G Kay  – WLF Founder & CEO