Nearly 70 years after education was declared a fundamental human right by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948, millions of young people in developing countries are still struggling to access quality education.
Apart from the dearth of infrastructure which seems to be the most immediately visible challenge, lack of instructional materials is another problem facing the education sector in developing nations.
Students often have to regurgitate information that was served to their teachers decades ago and have since been overtaken by new findings. In many instances staying up to date with developments in your field of study often means ordering journals and textbooks at costs that are far from being affordable for the average student.
Even in our primary and secondary schools, the situation is not much better except for privileged children from middle to upper class families. We see students passing on textbooks and other learning resources from one generation to the next instead of procuring the current editions of such educational resources.
Combine this with outdated curriculums and you see how challenging it is for learners in developing nations to exhibit creativity and innovation like their counterparts in other climes. The good news, however, is that young people are beginning to avail themselves of the opportunities provided by the internet to take learning beyond the limitations of the school system.
As helpful as that is, we still have the issues of relevance, accessibility and affordability to grapple with. Learners often have to sieve through a huge pile of materials or cough up a small fortune to get what they need. And even when they eventually do, adapting it to the local context presents another challenge.
It is this dilemma that Panacea e-library aims to solve. A product of e86 Limited, Panacea is one of the 1,000 business ideas picked by Accenture for the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme (TEEP) 2016 from over 45, 000 entries from all over Africa.
Through a web app and mobile app that provides access to a wide range of books, journals and other materials, e86 Limited seeks to democratise access to quality learning resources.
Among other interesting features, Panacea e-library combines the flexibility of e-learning with the immersive experience of creating book clubs and connecting with study mates based on location and interests. Getting started is as easy as signing up for a free account at www.panacea.ng and choosing your preferred subscription plan.
Like Edmund Burke observed, "Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little." So we're trying to do our bit with Panacea to make learning fun and accessible to all.