Small scholarships (or microvouchers) provide scalable ways to spread skills
Microscholarships are extending the microfinance revolution to learning.
As used in developing countries, Microscholarships typically entail small amounts of money — typically ranging from $5 to $50 — for students and jobseekers in acquire new skills and certifications.
Recipients can apply the stipends to defray costs of re-skilling and skills certification resources in telecenters and cybercafes, or apply them to defray tuitions at entrepreneurial schools in their community.
In Kyrgyzstan, an Openworld-designed microvoucher initiative was launched in mid-2005 that has led to more than 9000 Kyrgyz citizens gaining skills and Internet experience to date at local telecenters.
The project invited telecenter entrepreneurs across the country to apply for $20,000 challenge offer startup bundles of microscholarships.
To compete for pilot "eCenter" awards, each applicant had to prepare a survey of local needs, and pledge a local land grant as an endowment to sustain ongoing microscholarships for the community.
More than 25 villages responded to the microscholarship offers, leading to the selection of an initial five pilot sites – and to a measurable growth in grassroots Internet skills. A multimedia documentary prepared by Kyrgyz eCenters relates the experience.
In Sri Lanka, an bootstrap school offering computer and English skills in a poor farming village launched a microscholarship campaign to help hundreds of students afford its weekend courses.
Horizon Lanka Academy created a Microscholarship site and invited diaspora supporters and other well-wishers to make contributions through GobalGiving, resulting in more than $8000 in donations.
A number of students assisted by microscholarships have earned national and international recognition for their achievements, including creation of eLearning resources, speeches to national ICT conferences, and a meeting with Intel Chairman Craig Barrett (right).
This page has been created by the Openworld Team