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Technology within everyone’s reach ?



May 10, 2024

During the last decades Colombia has been achieving a notorious evolution in terms of technological development, different sectors of the industry have adopted solutions that leveraged on technological tools, optimize their processes and make communication and execution of tasks more efficient, proof of this is the reduction of time, costs and effort in paperwork that some time ago, implied people to make long lines in banks, universities, schools, government entities, etc. It also implied investing time and money in transportation, and time in the development of the diligence itself, this became a real ordeal, today, the different tools, web applications, Call Center services and many other services offered by companies, allow contact between the user and the service provider in a faster and more effective way, although the paperwork has not completely disappeared, if it has significantly relieved those who make use of these services.

However, there is much to be done when we talk about access for “everyone” to these wonderful solutions offered by technology, it would be ideal that they reach every corner of the country and benefit us all equally, but there are gaps that are not easy to close, distance, geography, lack of resources and outreach make it very difficult to access the tools, even so, in Colombia there are initiatives that work to reach remote populations and break these barriers.

When participating in one of these initiatives, I remember in a satisfactory way the experience of having heard the students of an educational institution in a very remote area of the country, listening to their teacher saying: “There is internet! At that time, from a Call Center in Bogota, we would contact a technician who would go to the educational institutions on a motorcycle, on horseback or in a chalupa, to install the service. He installed an antenna and pointed to a satellite to achieve the frequency that allowed us to have connectivity, often the technician took hours to reach the site, the weather conditions delayed the itinerary and when he arrived at the site, it turned out that there was an electrical failure and could not make any progress in the work, but even so, with all the setbacks, there was a commitment to fulfill, so we continued until the internet service was installed for the children in their schools, the “teacher” was the one who gave the good news to her students, it was quite an odyssey but it was worth it”.

It seems that the scenario has not changed much, currently it is still difficult to reach remote populations in Colombia, technology continues to advance, but many are not managing to advance at their pace, however, and despite the situation, we see how many do their best to receive an online class to not stop their learning process, the isolation we live in today shows that despite the limitations many strive to move forward.

Jose Manjarres, teacher of a musical training program, tells us that the desire and passion of his students for music, do not allow classes to stop, he as a teacher also uses advances in technology to offer his students an excellent class, he tells us that, through the configuration of some devices, makes the connection from the battery to a console and can transmit to his students through their cell phone sound quality. He also tells us that for some of his students it is easier to adapt to receive a class by video call, because as they say, young people today already have the chip, for older people it is more complex to adapt to these methods, but still, they succeed. There are cases of students who cannot access their classes because they do not have internet access, some do not have a computer or cell phone, so it is impossible for them to access their classes.

This reality allows us to reflect from many perspectives, there will be those who think how fortunate we are to have access to technological tools to work, study, communicate and have fun, others will think about how different would be the current situation of many remote communities if resources were invested in bringing education and technology to these places, We can also think about how we can help as a privileged population to those less favored, there are many positions we can take in this situation, but the important thing is to start by knowing the reality of our country and generate ideas that can mean a change in the lives of people who also deserve to know the great benefits of technology.

The most recent survey conducted by DANE on the basic indicators of Information Technologies in Colombia, shows the statistics of Internet access and computer use in people over 5 years of age in Colombia.

In the municipal capitals, 50.9% of people 5 years of age and older used a computer and 72.4% used the Internet anywhere. For populated centers and dispersed rural areas, 24.5% of people aged 5 years and older used a computer and 35.8% used the Internet anywhere.


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