Education includes public and private education and training as well as innovative means of teaching and learning, such as tele-education, blended learning or massive online open courses (MOOCs). The COVID-19 crisis has demonstrated the importance of and need for reliable connectivity in a sector which was subject to a comparatively slow digitalisation. In a digitalised world, connectivity becomes a precondition to access educational and learning content: across the developed world in 2019, 87 out of 100 households had internet access at home, however worldwide the average drops to 57 households. Fixed internet connectivity in rural areas in Europe lies only at 40%. 78 out of 100 households have a computer at home in Europe, but worldwide only around 50 out of 100 households do. There is a need for cost-effective connectivity in remote areas and as a back-up for terrestrial connections to ensure access to education.
With regard to content and platforms, educational technology -or Edtech– companies, are registering strong increases in utilisation rates. Acceptance and characteristics of eLearning and Edtech solutions, but also user capabilities, are improving. Content had been digitalised in recent years and access to content has been opened up, making digital and lifelong learning more accessible for everybody. In the coming years, further innovation can be expected through progress in augmented/virtual reality, robotics, artificial intelligence and blockchain solutions.
Providing reliable and sustainable education services is an important aim of cooperation with developing countries. International donors (such as the EU and World Bank) consider such efforts to be a high priority. The establishment of close partnerships with local organisations and communities in the fields of scientific research, education, technology and applications is recognised by ESA’s support programmes as a prerequisite for the development of demand-driven projects that meet real user needs.
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