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Educational app for poverty-stricken areas

Darryl Koh Yuan Jie
Darryl Koh Yuan Jie Dec 15, 2021
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Lack of education in poverty stricken areas is one of the biggest problem in the modern world. However, by educating the current generation, more people are able to find jobs and end the poverty cycle.
I propose an educational app that allows youths, students from well-developed countries to connect to other children from less-developed countries and teach them basic subjects such as Math, Science and literacy skills. (Imagine Duolingo combined with Skype)
The app has a curriculum of its own, with different stages and topics for each subjects ranging in difficulty and experience. Students from well-developed countries are akin to tutors that teach children who suffer from poverty. The app has lesson materials that are planned out based on the development stages of the children and a test is administered before the start of the tutoring to gauge the level of understanding of the children. Each tutor mentors around 2-3 children and conduct the lessons via softwares like skype or zoom and keep track of individual children progress via a section in the app. While these students are by no means a replacement for teachers with a proper educational background, I believe that a small effort goes a long way.
The main problems right now are that many students might not be inclined to help those the less fortunate, at the expense of their own time and effort. However, as many schools have a community work requirement, I believe schools can implement this as a form of community work to encourage students to sign up for this project.
Another issue, is that many poverty stricken areas probably do not have access to computers or even phones. It can be difficult to truly connect the two parties together.Lesson materials may also not always be availiable in rural areas and they might have to simply make do with pencil and paper.
This idea is definitely still in the early stages and I hope to get your feedback to improve upon!
Creative contributions

Focus on delivering or adapting technologies to the underprivileged

jnikola Dec 15, 2021
Hi Darryl Koh Yuan Jie! I agree this is a huge problem. Poverty in some areas is beyond our limits of understanding and strongly halts the development of that society. As stated on the ChildFund web page, "knowledge gives children the power to dream of a better future and the confidence needed to pursue a full education, which in turn will help generations to come."
Therefore, I strongly support your initiative of educating children and letting them dream big!
The first problem you mentioned is strictly tied to human nature and I believe that, among millions of students across the world, there will always be a certain percent of them willing to give up on their free time to educate children. Even in my country, there are many organizations that offer you a trip to developing countries where you can teach people. You have everything paid and everyone who applies gets the life-changing opportunity.
In my opinion, the second problem is what stops students from all over the world and poor children to establish an educational relationship. By being far from each other, and having no way to communicate (no phones or internet) makes the education almost impossible.

That's the direction I think we should be heading while brainstorming this - how to bring education to children in 1) developing countries (far away) and 2) poor areas close to our community. Yes, we can spread the word and make more students do the education in developing countries, but the potential of future progress would be much greater if we develop a new way of delivering knowledge to the poor.
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Darryl Koh Yuan Jie
Darryl Koh Yuan Jie2 years ago
Thank you both for your response. I agree very much with your comments. I think while ambitious, it would require a lot more resources in the long run. At the very least, it could work for areas where people have at least some form of technology or connection to the internet, which would probably be developing countries like what Juranium mentioned. I think poor areas close to our community might be a more viable option as even if they do not have phones or computers, it would be easier for us to sponsor them the technology and resources required.
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Spook Louw
Spook Louw2 years ago
I agree with both of you, but, as Juranium mentioned, access to technology is most restricted in the areas that would need such an app most. The same is true of the network coverage needed to update said courses or submit any work.
That said, this idea could still work in areas where the rich and poor live closer to each other. In large cities, where there are children who lack the means to get an education as well as rich schools such a system could work. But instead of developing an app and entrusting children to "run" it, such finances might be better used in the form of scholarships or upgrading infrastructure.
So while the goal of the idea is definitely honourable, what I mean to say, respectfully, is that it might not be the most effective approach to solving the problem of lack of education in financially disadvantaged communities.
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Focus on high schools as the target audience.

Contrived _voice
Contrived _voice Jan 08, 2022
The Idea is great save for one thing. Language
In underdeveloped and developing countries, elementary and pre highschool education is conducted in regional languages or local dialects. International languages like English or French are taught at that stage but most students don't understand them well enough to use them in learning complex subjects. Although some can, the majority struggle with it and prefer their own languages.
At the high school level, however, mastery is a requirement or at least competence at it. The government grants enough financial support to these high schools to enable students to access electronic devices regardless of their financial situations at home. This is the first time some of these students have first-hand access to such devices and as such is the best time to implement such a program.
The benefits are many including practice in languages like English, French, and German which are taught in most schools. An attachment to a defined curriculum could help the students pace themselves and work on areas they have trouble with. It might also help expand their views of the world while we're at it.
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Darryl Koh Yuan Jie
Darryl Koh Yuan Jie2 years ago
Yes, my sentiments exactly. I think that is the first barrier that has to be overcome. I have actually went to a local school in Cambodia many years back to teach the children english as a basic language and it definitely was not easy. Even those who had prior minor language background always preferred to converse in their local language.The best way to go about this issue would honestly to teach them from a young age so that it would be a prominent aspect of their communication from a young age.
Perhaps, for students who are still at the beginner stage, they can learn more complex subjects through their local language first, until their proficiency in english increases. In addition, the app can have a translation feature that allows the tutors to talk their students in their local language(can be done through voice or text). The best alternative would be to have tutors who are able to converse in the local languages, however that would require additional effort on their part and furthermore some languages are truly exclusive to locals and it may be hard to learn them through online means only.
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Alternative use, group study sessions

Contrived _voice
Contrived _voice Jan 19, 2022
Imagine quora but broken down to academic topics, Each topic has a chat and video function. you can open as many "classes" per topic as the users want. The site could have relevant materials to said topic.
Group studying is a really effective supplement when learning. Sometimes distance is an issue, you may want to study with other people but the commute would end up wasting more time. Availability of people too may be a problem, however, At the scale of the entire planit it's likely someone else probably wants to study something at the same time as you.
As an added advantage when students teach one another it works out great as they understand each other better so explaining complex topics is done in a relatable manner thet's easier to grasp.
How it works
Schools willing to participate can subsribe to the service on behalf of the students. Indipendent learners could also do the same. The more people with access to it the more functional it works. Money collected could be used to hire technitians to mentain servers and create frameworks for the app.
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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni2 years ago
Great idea! The only problem I see here is the unavailability of individual work stations and computer systems in poverty-stricken areas. It may need to be linked to this idea.
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Contrived _voice
Contrived _voice2 years ago
Shubhankar Kulkarni Great association. Provide the necessary devices while creating a network for their use. It could be a great Idea for a non-profit
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General comments

Povilas S
Povilas S2 years ago
I think for young students (especially those at primary school) a possibility to meet foreign children and make friends from different cultures that way might be motivating enough so that they'd agree to teach them without enforcing this as a social service.
More serious, as Contrived _voice has pointed out above, is the language barrier. For children in developing countries who have no education (such an app would be most relevant to them), it would be impossible to converse and learn in other than their own language, at least initially, so only the children who speak their language could teach them or, as you suggested, digital translators could be used, but those could cause a lot of misunderstandings.
As for the lack of digital technology in underdeveloped countries, one way to approach solving this problem is suggested in this idea.
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