On The Creation Of An Online Site To Give Access To Books/ Articles For Free

In relation to poorer young people not having an easy access to books and reading material to assist their education, I would like to see the creation of an online library of articles and PDF files that anybody in any part of the country can access without any charge. There are hundreds (if not thousands) of such reading materials available already on sites like Jstor but which are often difficult to sift through as they are targeted to higher-level academics. Not only that, but most students below 18 have little to no awareness of such sites existing at all. However, a specially designed website where access to appropriate and stimulating literature could be provided to those aged between 14-18 (for instance) would give students a great opportunity to advance their learning.

Not only would such a site be a great resource of free educational material, but there could be an incentives mechanism established on the site to further encourage students to learn. From a competitive leader board based on the hours of reading each student completes to monthly prizes for those most engaged with the site, such incentives would help motivate young people across the country to self-study and learn new things independently. Teachers could also set reading homework tasks alongside any other school work.

Over time, as the site expands its user base, courses and learning modules could be provided to assess the extent to which students have retained a strong grasp over what they have learned. As these assessments would be specially designed with high expertise, a small charge could be asked for in order to help keep up the maintenance of the site. Companies like Seneca Learning have already adopted elements of this in their work. Alternatively, if the site is modelled as a social enterprise, funding could be secured by philanthropists or external charities.

Regardless of if the expansion of the site is modelled entirely as a social enterprise or if it incorporates elements of monetisation, educational inequality would significantly be reduced across the country as access to the basic resource of academic information would be provided to all students for free. I believe that under the right management and with appropriate backing, an online site providing access to specific pieces of educational content for free (e.g. online PDFs/ articles) would be one step in the right direction to tackling inequality in our country. It would help young people have access to content that was relevant to what they are currently doing in lesson.




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