Your Questions Answered: Using Technology to Support Gender Equity, Social Inclusion and Out-Of-School Learning

On Thursday, May 21, 2020, the EdTech Hub participated in a FCDO / Girls’ Education Challenge COVID-19 webinar which welcomed development professionals from 21 countries including the UK, Kenya, Zimbabwe and Nepal. The session focused on how to stay committed to issues regarding gender and social inclusion during the COVID-19 crisis.

This document provides answers to a consolidated list of 10 questions received from stakeholders during the session. To address any overlap, we have occasionally combined multiple questions into one. In other cases, where multiple important issues in a single question merited focused responses, we split apart questions. The questions answered in this document are:

  1. What are some good practices to support girls to engage with technology, to ensure educational programmes do not do harm, and to address the digital gender divide?
  2. How can technology support those with a disability?
  3. How can we provide learning to children in remote, rural, and hard-to-reach areas?
  4. What devices work in areas with low connectivity or electricity?
  5. How can we engage groups with low technological understanding or technophobia?
  6. How can we engage groups with a lack of literacy, who have recently begun schooling, or who have never been to school before?
  7. How can we support the education of those with compounded disadvantages?
  8. How can tech, no- and low- tech options help teachers and local government staff support their vulnerable students?
  9. Can tech support communication between individuals who do not speak the same language? Can technologies be easily adapted to the local language?
  10. How can the barriers of availability, costs and coverage that developing countries face with regard to the use of EdTech be addressed?

Many of the questions answered in this document start by asking, “How can technology…”. This phrasing assumes that technology is necessarily the right solution. This is often not the case when it comes to disadvantaged populations since, even when they can access technology, their ability to use that opportunity is proportional to their socio-economic status. When reading our answers, it is important to keep in mind that policymakers and education decision-makers should try as much as possible to ask instead, “What are the needs of the learners I am responsible for, what needs to be done to address them, and what role might technology play?”

The above questions are relevant to audiences beyond the webinar participants. They are generally representative of questions we receive from similar groups around the world. In order to provide insights to policy-makers, programme funders, private sector actors and other stakeholders working on EdTech, we have therefore made this document publicly available.

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