Connecting Students Can Boost the Economy
A new report shows that closing the digital divide for students who
lack connectivity can provide a tremendous boost to economies around
the world, including 5.5% boost to GDP in the United States.
The Economist Intelligence Unit report, Connecting
learners: Narrowing the educational divide, found that, whle
students don’t need connectivity to obtain an education, the
educational opportunities available to students who have connectivity
are significant enough to create a divide between those who are
connected and those who are not.
Boosting connectivity by 1%, according to the report, can increase
“the average number of learning-adjusted years of schooling by
0.06% and GDP per capita by 0.11%.”
How does this happen? According to the report: “The chain of impact
from school connectivity to socio-economic gains begins from improved
learning outcomes for children. If improved connectivity is
supplemented with the right policies to integrate technology in
education, it can improve access to learning resources and enhance
the quality of education.”
That translates to “[i]mproved learning outcomes for children,
combined with enhanced digital literacy skills, [which] allows the
benefits of school connectivity to permeate through the life of an
individual from childhood, to adolescence to adulthood. New doors are
opened for further education and career pathways, offering better
opportunities at all stages of life. This brings with it higher
income levels and a better quality of life.” And: “Ultimately,
the benefits from improved school connectivity is reflected in the
GDP of an economy.”
In countries like the United States, where access levels are high and
the vast majority of schools are connected, the gap comes largely in
the form of quality of connections.
which sponsored the publication of the report, the findings of the
research are a call to action to get behind school connectivity
initiatives. Ericsson is a supporter of Giga,
an initiative founded by UNICEF and the International
According to Ericsson: “The EIU report shows how school
connectivity can lead to improved educational outcomes and enhanced
career opportunities for children. resulting in higher economic
activity and community growth. The report finds that these
individual-level benefits for children have a snowball effect leading
to higher incomes, better health, and improved overall wellbeing. The
benefits can extend beyond children, supporting wider community
development and economic growth.”
complete report can be downloaded here.
About the Author
David Nagel is editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Technology Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal and STEAM Universe. A 29-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art and business publications.
He can be reached at [email protected]. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at or follow him on Twitter at @THEDavidNagel (K-12) or @CampusTechDave (higher education).