Only 25% of homes in developing countries have a computer, but I predict that soon enough, almost everyone on the planet will own a mobile device.

To explore the impact of this increasing mobile technology, the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Information Communications Technology has released Accelerating the Adoption of mLearning: A Call for Collective and Collaborative Action. This paper, published in collaboration with global experts, discusses how the ICT sector can help increase the adoption and scale of mlearning projects (the exchange of knowledge between people, places and things leveraging the global communications platform).

The report finds that success will depend on:

  1. A robust collaboration among governments, teachers, private sector and individuals
  2. The global implementation of mlearning projects, particularly to reach the most vulnerable segments of society
  3. A greater role of the ICT sector to ensure the success of mlearning, via collaboration between industry and the mlearning community

On a recent trip to the Philippines, I spent time with President Benigno Aquino, Chairman of the Ayala Group Jaime Agusto Zobel de Ayala, and Ernest Cu, Chief Executive Officer of Globe Telecom. Together these companies, global organizations and the president have developed the well-known Text2Teach mlearning initiative in the Philippines. Text2Teach enables teachers to download short videos to a mobile device and to screen them in the classroom.

The initiative is a result of high-level collaboration between government and business and the ICT sector is playing a crucial role to ensure its success. The initiative also serves a vulnerable population, as access to education in the Philippines is limited. Currently, children are dropping out of school as early as in grade one or two. Due to a shortage of both schools and teachers, some schools are forced to operate in shifts with the first students starting their school day at 4.00 am.

The government, educators and business leaders of the Philippines understand the dire need to change their system and to provide learning opportunities to as many as possible. The Philippines is one of the highest texting nations in the world and the government must make sure that the popular love of mobile devices extends to mlearning.

Case studies such as that of the Philippines exist all around the world, especially in areas of rural poverty. Business leaders complain they don’t have an adequately skilled workforce and we need to change this. But we need a new education model – one that reaches the hard to reach, in spite of growing teacher shortages and cutbacks in education spending.

mLearning represents potential. Nearly six billion people own cell phones. Should the ICT and telecom sector works with the mLearning community to accelerate its adoption and help scale up projects, one of our most pressing global issues can be addressed. In the process, we can boost economies, lift people out of poverty and build more robust and inclusive societies.

Written by Rajeev Singh-Molares, President of Alcatel-Lucent APAC and Chair of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Information and Communication Technologies

Pictured: Villagers charge their mobile phones using electricity from the generator of a van after Typhoon Nalgae hit the Philippines, dumping heavy rain which increased flood levels in Calumpit, Bulacan province, north of Manila October 2, 2011. Typhoon Nalgae slammed into two northern rice-producing provinces on Saturday. The country had yet to recover from Typhoon Nesat, which hit on Tuesday, killing at least 52 people, when Nalgae struck. Parts of two provinces north of the capital, Pampanga and Bulacan, have been submerged in chest-deep water since Friday, with many residents sheltering on their roofs, and Nalgae’s rain meant the towns were likely to remain flooded. REUTERS/Cheryl Ravelo