There are few greater drivers of development than quality education. At the post-secondary level, the World Bank highlights ‘unequivocal’ returns on investment, ranging from greater productivity and innovation to increased civic engagement and better health outcomes.
In emerging markets, the number of primary and secondary education graduates is increasing, but enrollment in higher education remains low. Women learners are limited by social norms prioritizing investment in men’s schooling, as well as lower labor market participation rates. Demand for higher education is often unmet, suggesting the need to complement existing resources with new partners and delivery models.
Enter online education. From micro-credentials to the gamification of learning, digital delivery has the potential to lower costs and increase access to a more diverse set of learners. Nowhere is this potential higher than in emerging markets, where young populations, fewer existing educational opportunities, and expansions in connectivity set the stage for explosive growth.
IFC estimates that the market for adult online learning will more than double by 2026. These trends highlight the need to understand if, and how, online platforms are serving learners in emerging markets, particularly women, who have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.
Women and Online Learning in Emerging Markets aims to fill this gap. The report, developed in partnership with Coursera and the European Commission, shows how online platforms can support women in accessing job-relevant courses and credentials to advance employment and entrepreneurship opportunities.
Focusing on women learners can pay dividends in business and development impact: if participation gaps between women and men learners in emerging markets were closed, the value of the online learning market could grow up to an additional $14 billion by 2026. The benefits extend beyond the online learning market—the study shows that one job is created for every 30 people trained online in the four focus countries studied: Egypt, India, Mexico, and Nigeria.
The report, developed in partnership with Coursera, and the European Commission, shows how online platforms can support women in accessing job relevant courses and credentials to advance their employment and entrepreneurship opportunities.