Friday, September 27, 2013

Education, Technology, and Women's Rights

Recently, a Georgia Tech graduate student Zane Cochran has been teaching a computer science class to women in Liberia sponsored by the Roots in Science & Engineering (RISE) grant from Google to iLab Liberia. Computer science is a very male-dominated field, and especially in developing nations where extreme competition for jobs in technology leads to very individualistic learning. However, through this grant, Cochran was able to facilitate a collaborative environment in which both women and men excelled in contrast to the previous system in which many men and one woman rarely led to collaboration.

Programs such as iLab Liberia are examples of how large technology companies like Google are making an impact in education around the world. Efforts from Google and Twitter to recruit and fund women’s education in technology is a gateway to empowerment, and provides opportunities to those who didn’t have them before. Education is emphasized a lot in development economics because of its high return on investment, and the strong correlation between quality of education and standard of living. With the dissemination of technology, people around the world have access to education and materials that were unavailable beforehand.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states, “Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.” This human right has now become even more important that education is so easily obtained through either open-courseware or through other technologies.

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