OP-ED: Reshaping Education in Latin America through Innovation

OP-ED:  Inequality and low budgets make some students unable to access good educational opportunities. Can the digital age make a difference? Photo (c) CVC Venezuela 2015OP-ED: Inequality and low budgets make some students unable to access good educational opportunities. Can the digital age make a difference? Photo (c) CVC Venezuela 2015

(Guest Article by Brenda Berg) – The Latin American educational system is still in an extremely fragile condition. Inequality is still thriving in the majority of places and low or cut budgets has resulted in students being unable to have access to educational opportunities or high-quality teachers. These problems have numerous origins including the recent boom in population and the state of the economy, which can vary from country to country.

According to statistics, more than 40% of students do not graduate past a secondary level of education and to make matters worst, the quality of education that the other 60% do receive is not high enough for them to make the most from the opportunities given to them.

Allan Brook, a professor with a PhD in Mathematics who has taught for many years throughout the Latin American region and currently provides consultations for students around the world at UkWritings.com states, “Throughout the decade I spent teaching in Latin America, specifically in Brazil, it’s easy to notice the declining standards when it comes to education. As a low-productivity, export-leading economy, there simply isn’t the funds available from government sources to give students, children and adults alike, the opportunities for a high-quality education that they deserve.”

However, with these problems in mind, the important aspect to consider is how to move forward.

Technology Advancing Accessible Education

Photo (c) RIIAL 2016

Many non-government entities, such as businesses and investors are playing a major role in where Lat Am education is heading. Photo (c) RIIAL 2016

It has been discovered that, recently, many non-government entities, such as businesses, companies and investors, are playing a major role in the way that the education system is heading. These groups of people and individuals are becoming more and more aware that education is a fundamental factor in society and are beginning to invest their time and funds into the systems development.

Already, we’re beginning to see technological advances that are geared towards improving educational standards in the South American countries. This includes the recent rise in language apps such as DuoLingo and Descomplica, an extremely popular software platform in Brazil which allows people to have access to full-time, round-the-clock educational videos and study guides that are helping people to learn whilst not having to be present in a classroom environment.

There is also news of individuals based in the Latin American regions that are taking matters into their own hands. UTEL is an online university that is extremely popular in Mexico and other nearby areas. This university platform was developed by an individual called David Stofenmacher and currently has in excess of 6,000 students.

Photo (c) TSS Online Russia 2013

One platform doubles educating educators and social networking. Photo (c) TSS Online Russia 2013

Another development in Brazil has led to a replicated version of MOOC, an online course platform that has already proven to be extremely successful in the United States. Currently, the platform has seen over 3 million visitors and resulted in a $1.3 million investment from external entities.

These innovative developments are happening across Latin America, taking it by storm and really helping to make a difference. Another prime example is Docente al Dia.

An established platform set up and managed by Eugenio Severin, this online channel has the mission of educating the teachers themselves, providing them access to content and courses and also doubles up as a social network for teachers across the regions.

Lat Am Governmental Role?

Photo (c) El Deforma 2015

Technology and education  create new opportunities and channels for learning. Photo (c) El Deforma 2015

Steven Grant, a professor and moderator at OxEssays.com describes the concept of Education 3.0 and the effect it will have on the education system in this part of the world, “Education 3.0 is the latest theory in which technology and education seamlessly combine to create new opportunities and channels for learning that have previously been impossible.

These advances mean that traditional methods of teaching in classroom environments will become obsolete and there will be much more focus on interactive learning that can be customized to suit the learning ability of every single individual.”

This isn’t to say that governments should not be a part of these advances. The idea of Education 3.0 is to find a balance between government funding and corporate investment that can result in a better education and greater opportunities for both the individuals in the system and society as a whole.