November 29, 2023

Kais Zribi, General Manager Middle East and Africa at Coursera

Confidence, a Nigerian data analyst and biologist, discovered the power of online learning during the pandemic. With a degree in life sciences, she worked to improve her skills through online courses, including a Google Data Analytics professional certificate. This investment in her education has paid off, as after two years of job searching, she recently landed a job in her field of interest, genomic data science.

Confidence’s story highlights the tremendous opportunity of distance education in creating equal opportunities for women and other underserved populations. According to a report by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), increasing women’s access to online education has the potential to improve their economic prospects and open up new career paths. The study found that one in three Nigerian women interviewed reported positive career or business outcomes after taking online courses, including finding a new job, starting a business or improving work performance.

The research is part of the “Women and Online Education in Emerging Markets’ report from IFC, produced in collaboration with the global online learning platform Coursera and the European Commission. The report also found that one job is created for every 30 people trained on Coursera in Nigeria.

The study uses data from Coursera to quantify women’s participation in online education, identifies challenges to greater participation, and provides recommendations for the public and private sectors to improve lifelong learning opportunities and outcomes for women.

“This report, produced as part of IFC’s Digital2Equal initiative, highlights the importance of technology and online learning in boosting access to new skills and creating opportunities for women and entrepreneurs more broadly. IFC is committed to empowering women in business through the digital economy,” he said Kalim M. Shah, IFC Senior Country Manager for Nigeria, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Other key findings in Nigeria include:

  • Enrollment of women in online education has accelerated, but the gender gap still persists.
    • In Nigeria, males make up the majority of online students. However, over the past five years, the proportion of students has increased from 26% in 2017 to 32% in 2022.
    • Women were twice as likely as men to cite family and childcare responsibilities as a reason for their motivation to learn online. 27% of women were motivated by the pandemic and 20% of women were motivated by personal preferences.
    • Credential acceptance is key to attracting more online students, with more than 50% of respondents citing it as a key reason for enrolling. Nigerian students also rate the credibility of online learning the best compared to students from other countries in the study.
  • Online education can lead to career outcomes and economic gains in Nigeria.
    • 38% of online learners in Nigeria reported a positive work or business outcome as a result of online learning.
      • 27% of women have developed skills to prepare for a new job application.
      • 14% of female employees got a new job or promotion.
      • 23% of women improved their performance in their current job or business.
    • Women entrepreneurs in Nigeria have particularly excelled:
      • 70% of women who took online education to start and run their own business said they achieved their goal.
    • In Nigeria, one job is created for every 30 people trained on Coursera. Improved skills and qualifications create new jobs directly through the creation of new businesses. Jobs are also created indirectly through increased consumption and economic activity driven by higher incomes.
  • Online education has the potential to further reach underserved populations in Nigeria.
    • The largest category of students in Nigeria (36%) report a monthly household income below the 50th percentile at N55,000.
    • More than a quarter of women said connectivity issues need to be overcome, but interest in online education remains strong: 65% of women and 76% of men say they will continue their education exclusively online in the future.

This research highlights the potential of online learning to bridge the gender gap in Nigeria by giving women access to in-demand skills and new career opportunities. It also shows that online education can not only benefit individual women, but can also be a driver of economic growth through job creation. Governments, businesses and institutions must work closely together to address some of the key challenges facing women in Nigeria. Public-private partnerships will be essential to unlock women’s full potential and create more opportunities.

The “Women and Online Education in Emerging Markets” The study draws on data from nearly 97 million Coursera students in more than 190 countries, surveys of nearly 10,000 students in Egypt, India, Mexico and Nigeria who have taken at least one course on the platform, and interviews with more than 70 global students and experts from field.

For more information, you can download the report here.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *