Rural Education as a Service: Leveraging Cloud Computing for Empowering Rural Youth

Rural Education as a Service: Leveraging Cloud Computing for Empowering Rural Youth

Mohamed Fazil Mohamed Firdhous (University of Moratuwa, Moratuwa, Sri Lanka)
DOI: 10.4018/IJOCI.2016010104
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Abstract

Cloud computing has been the newest paradigm computing that provides many advantages to users. Due to the advantages of the cloud computing many users are moving their systems and applications to it while new cloud based applications are emerging on a daily basis. Though the urban population can access and benefit from all the modern technologies, the rural population is generally left out of it as they are trapped in a vicious cycle of poverty. The only way to get them out from their problems is to empower them with new knowledge and skills. The traditional methods including ICT based education delivery methods have faced several hurdles in achieving their objectives. In this paper, the author takes an in-depth look at how cloud computing can be leveraged to deliver rural education programmes more efficiently and effectively. The Rural Education as a Service presented in this paper has many advantages and can easily overcome the problems faced by other methods. The paper also presents the RuralEaaS delivery model and network architecture that can be used to implement it.
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Introduction

Computing has brought many revolutionary changes to human life and development in a very short time of few decades compared to other revolutions such as agriculture revolution or industrial revolution (Ogunsola, 2005). The main differentiating factor of computer mediated revolution compared to other revolutions is that the effects or outcomes of the computer mediated revolution are felt throughout the world, though not uniformly. The revolution brought about through the use of computers is commonly known as the information revolution (Nye, 2014). Though information played an important role in the previous revolutions too, in the current revolution is largely driven by the demand for access to the right information, at the right time and form (Servaes, 2008). The main driving factors of the information revolution are the development in the fields of computing and communication technologies. The developments in computing have contributed to the economic and human development in many facets including improving the efficiency of existing processes, development of new opportunities and taking these processes and opportunities closer to the people who did not have access to them previously.

The main outcome of the information revolution is commonly known as the knowledge economy (Hogan, 2011). Creation of knowledge and its use as an input in the production process play the main role in economic prosperity through innovation in this new era of development (Kurtic & Donlagic, 2012). Hence acquiring knowledge and skills has become the key to the success of both individuals and states. Thus almost every country in the world is investing heavily on upgrading their educational systems to face the challenges of the new world order brought about by the information revolution (Zahra, 2011). Though governments and other interested parties have implemented several projects to take knowledge and skills to every corner of the world, a large portion of the population remain non-benefitted from these programs. They are the rural population living in remote areas without access to the modern facilities.

According to the World Bank, more than half of the world population lives in rural areas and especially in developing countries of Asia, Africa and South and Central America (World Bank, 2015). Compared to the people living in urban areas, the rural masses suffer from various problems and challenges (Mtega & Malekani, 2009). Poverty, high unemployment, lack of access to proper infrastructure and social services etc., are some of the main issues that affect the rural population (Mechanic & Tanner, 2007). In many rural areas, poverty is so widespread and people are forced to live under USD 1 a day below the absolute poverty line defined by the World Bank (Ahmed, Hill, Smith, Wiesmann, & Frankenberger, 2007). This makes the rural population the most vulnerable compared to others living in the urban areas. Hence there is a strong need to empower these people sufficiently with information, knowledge and skills in order to reap the benefits of the new opportunities and technologies (Sianipar, Yudoko, Adhiutama, & Dowaki, 2013).

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