As of 2016, 64 percent of Peru’s population has access to the internet, the majority of whom are residents of urban areas, and in many cases their access was limited by erratic technology and cost.1 Most rural regions are even more disconnected and unlikely to acquire stable and affordable internet connections in the near future, which severely limits access to information and educational materials. This unequal distribution of access to the internet has contributed to a widening gap in the provision of quality education across the geographical regions of Peru. In light of these issues, the SIPA Capstone team, in partnership with the Ministry of Education of Peru (MINEDU), conducted a needs assessment to identify the specific conditions in which offline technologies can be used to improve educational outcomes in the rural schools. Building off previous iterations of research surrounding offline internet technologies in Cuba and the Dominican Republic, the team explored the technical feasibility of implementing the Internet-In-A-Box (IIAB) and RachelPLUS devices within the Peru’s rural educational sphere.
The project was completed in three phases: project design, field research, and analysis and reporting. The initial phase involved formative desk research on the barriers for rural education; the technological landscape and connectivity challenges in the rural areas with indigenous populations; a technological assessment of suitable devices for field testing; and quality educational resources for teachers and students. In Peru, the team visited the Cusco, Amazonas and Cajamarca regions, gathering qualitative data through in-depth interviews, demonstrations, and focus groups with MINEDU officials, teachers, students, school administrators, and regional education specialists. The integration of the devices into the curriculum as well as teacher support and training surrounding offline technologies provides an opportunity to improve their usability and ensure longer-term sustainability. Based on these findings, the team presented a report with recommendations to MINEDU focused on identifying the enabling environments for a pilot study and best practices for a future work stream to effectively implement and evaluate the integration of offline internet technologies in rural educational settings.