Gallup reports this week that: Young Arabs More Connected in 2010: Cell phone access jumps in low- and middle-income countries. The above chart is from the Gallup report, which begins:
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Technology’s pivotal role in the change that swept the Arab world in late 2010 and early 2011 underscores how quickly its young people are gaining access to information and communication technology. Gallup surveys conducted before the unrest show 87% of 15- to 29-year-olds across the Arab League say they have cellular phone access, up from 79% in 2009. Home and community Internet access are up, too, but not nearly as much.
These facts and figures do not indicate how many of the young Arabs have internet access on their cellphones. Surely many do, and surely smartphones are flowing into young Arab hands. Smartphones deliver handschooling because smartphones browse the Web and the Web is now where the most authentic and up-to-date resources for knowledge are located.
While Facebook and other “social networking” dominate media stories about the role of connectivity in the Arab Spring, young Arabs have schooling of the future in their hands. Are they using the Web to learn? At the very least, the boys have a device by which to explore, challenge, and add to what they are taught in school and those girls who are denied school have a means to interact with knowledge.