Connecting the unconnected - bringing education to rural Indonesia

Read more


Connecting the unconnected – bringing education to rural Indonesia

The United Nations wants to achieve universal internet access by 2030. In what is termed as the race to connect the next billion, many of the world’s leading tech companies are heavily involved in helping that goal become a reality – and OUP is right at the heart of it.

With a particular focus on spreading high quality English language teaching around the world, we’re partnering with tech companies and social networking platforms on a range of projects. In collaboration with Facebook, for example, we’ve developed a product called English for All for use on their Free Basics platform, which makes internet access freely available to a billion people across Asia, Africa and Latin America.

“We can have a transformative effect on education in the country.”

The Head of Channels and Partnerships for our English Language Teaching (ELT) division, Joseph Noble, recently talked to us about a key project his team is embarking upon in Indonesia which aims to deliver education to 75,000 people every day.

The vastness and terrain of the country, means that outside of the main urban centers internet connectivity and the quality of education is poor. The ELT team, in partnership with Teachcast and Indomobil, wanted to change that situation and has already started delivering real-time English based lessons, beamed in via the internet, to people in rural Indonesia. This partnership, which sees each party offering up its own unique experience and expertise is but one of many that OUP is involved with all over the world. Teachcast delivers the skills of one of the world’s leading providers of remote learning and interactive teaching, Indomobil a truck manufacturer in Indonesia brings the means of delivery as well as much needed local knowledge to the table, and OUP provides world class content for lessons and homework.

The race to connect the next billion faces practical issues of connectivity that just do not exist in the developed world and Indonesia presented us with a fair few challenges. So we examined all the possibilities, from drones to balloons, before settling on the solution of using trucks and equipping them with satellite link up connectivity. This method was deemed as the most robust and effective means of achieving our goal. As Joseph points out, “using the satellite trucks we can participate in this race and improve the educational outcomes of English learners in Indonesia.”

“Think of it as a mobile classroom rather than a truck.”

At the moment we have 2 mobile classrooms out in the field, with a further 6 on the finishing line in the factory and with an end goal of 500. When fully commissioned this fleet will give us the ability to span the length and breadth of the country and bring not only learning but a connection to the wider world that otherwise simply would not be feasible.