Geo4All welcomes ideas for building global synergies and collaborations for Access to quality education and opportunities for all

In spite of all the economic & technological developments, it is a sad fact that thousands of schools globally (esp. in developing countries) even today do not have access to  even a single computer. Many of these poor schools do not even have a proper library.

But thanks to the unique convergence of some key developments ( hardware costs will keep decreasing, internet access will keep increasing even in developing and poor countries , availability of free and open source software, open education resources etc),  we are in the first time in history truly have a real opportunity for making quality education opportunities accessible for all. I have seen this already happening even in some poor government schools in rural India and also many examples in our Geo4All community from gvSIG Batovi [1] in Uruguay to GIS at Schools [2] etc  , has proved that it is possible if we have the will power and determination.  So Geo4All aims to  welcome ideas from the wider community on how we can work together for building global synergies and collaborations for enabling this  even for the poorest and remotest schools worldwide to enable quality education opportunities for all.

One of the important decisions made at Como meeting last week was to  welcome Governments, Industry, SME’s , NGOs etc who support Geo4All’s education mission and criteria [1] to join us as “Partners”  . So we have global network of  Open Geospatial Science Research and Education ‘Labs’ and ‘Partners’ to expand more collaborations for the future. We will bring together all key players (Government organisations, Industry, SMEs, NGOs) on the common mission of education and opportunities for all.

I am fully confident that if we are able to focus and bring together the amazing energies and reach of the wider community for our education mission, it will be game changer not just for Geoeducation but for the wider Education also. Our focus in addition to Universities and Higher Education is also on “Teacher Training programs” and accelerating the establishment of small Geo4All labs (with access to internet) even in the poorest and remotest schools worldwide to enable quality education opportunities for all. These “Geo4All” labs (tablets or low cost hardware based) in addition to help teach geoeducation will be help bring quality teaching and learning opportunities for all.  Technology is a big leveller and enabler for the poorer sections of the society to also be part of the global economy and we should not allow creation of artificial barriers (being forced to buy high cost proprietary software ) to deny this opportunity for the bottom billions. It is their right to also be part of the digital opportunities.

I am confident if we keep focus, we can achieve the target to enable digital education opportunities ( tablets or low cost hardware based) in many of the poorest schools globally in just 10 years time and having this partnership with universities, governments, Industry, SMEs and NGOs is key for this. So even if  till now many of these schools did not have access to any proper library or other learning resources , they will now have access to the best digital education resources available globally from wikipedia to MOOCs.

Education + Empowerment = Geo4All

We would like to get the ideas from the wider global community on what we need to do together to achieve this vision.

We look forward to working and building collaborations with all interested on this education mission. Access to quality education and opportunities is key for getting rid of extreme poverty and enable  broadly shared prosperity for all.

Best wishes,

Suchith
http://www.geoforall.org

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=orwN9K07XPo
[2]  http://www.edugis.pl/en/images/stories/guide/gis-at-school.pdf
[3] http://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/Geoforall_criteria

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