COVID-19 has caused governments to close schools and tertiary institutions temporarily, affecting 91% of the world’s student population. That is according to UNESCO, which is monitoring this unprecedented situation.
Many sectors, including education are rethinking how they work and prepare for a different future. All the while, parents are juggling working from home and assisting their children with distance learning.
At the same time, research by HolonIQ, a global education market intelligence firm, estimates the total global education expenditure to reach USD 8 trillion by 2025. It notes that education technology expenditure, fuelled by artificial intelligence (AI), is expected to double, reaching USD 341 billion by 2025. Its data indicates that despite an 11% annual growth, today’s education industry will leave 500 million students behind without serious and immediate transformation.
No-one knows how long this situation will last, but it raises urgent questions. How equipped are education institutions to conduct entire curriculums remotely? How will testing and teaching happen in the new classroom?
For anyone living remotely for whatever reason, how can we ensure every home environment is adequately equipped so that no one misses out on a quality education?
The UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 Quality education, aims to ensure that all girls and boys have access to and finish their free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education. It looks to ensure equal access for all women and men to affordable and quality technical, vocational and tertiary education, including university regardless of gender, disability or race.
For those with the technology it has been possible to follow classes at home during the pandemic, but for those without appropriate devices and reliable internet, learning has been severely affected.
“To assist in closing the divide in education we need to make sure that devices and tools available for the learners can be used regardless of where they are located, the tools used by their educational institution, and their preferences for how educational experiences are delivered.
The only way to ensure this is to strengthen the work of standardization so that all technologies used are interoperable and ensure that they adapt to the learners’ abilities and the devices they have access to.
Only global standards can deliver on this promise, which is why global standardization for learning, education and training technologies are so important. When learning technology supports everyone in getting access to quality education, then we are supporting SDG 4, but implicitly laying the foundations for all other SDGs as well”, says Erlend Øverby, who leads IEC and ISO standardization work in the area of IT for learning, education and training (ITLET) in Subcommittee 36.
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