Widening Participation: Reaching out to marginalised populations

The study explored how young people aged 13-15 from marginalised communities in Bangladesh, Nepal, Senegal and Sudan access technology and opportunities to learn English, and also how schools, teachers and parents provide access and support to children in those contexts.

Reaching out to marginalised populations in under-resourced countries


Researchers interviewed students, teachers, parents, and schools across the four countries. They found a growing trend of young people, regardless of their backgrounds, using technology and English to seek information.

The findings of the study have been organised into three themes: English language, technology and gender.

The research found that English is viewed as crucial for both technology and education. It is thought to help individuals secure better job opportunities and stay connected globally. Technology and English support each other, although not everyone has strong English skills, which can hinder technology use.

Students generally have a positive attitude toward technology, believing it aids in learning and job searches. However, challenges such as power outages in schools persist, with the Covid-19 pandemic accelerating the use of mobile phones for learning purposes. 

Access to devices and networks varied, with some children having their own devices, others borrowing from family members, and some drawing on extended social networks for internet connections. Students sometimes found ways to support their education both in and out of school, for example by borrowing devices from friends. Some had access only at home.

Gender differences influence technology access, with girls sometimes having fewer opportunities due to household rules. Parents tend to monitor girls' technology use more closely. Girls and boys also use technology differently, with girls focusing more on research and content sharing, while boys prefer chatting and gaming.

It is uncertain if boys have better English learning opportunities than girls. However, teachers perceive girls as more interested in learning English. Additionally, girls often have ambitious goals for their future, potentially driving their enthusiasm for English learning.

In summary, the study highlights the interconnectedness of technology and English learning. Ensuring equal access to technology and English learning opportunities, regardless of background or gender, is crucial for promoting inclusive education and skill development in a rapidly evolving digital era.

This publication is free to download in PDF format below. The text is creative commons licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0 


Kukulska-Hulme, A., Dawadi, S., Giri, R. A., Gaved, M., Khan, R., Bedri, A., Devkota, K. R., & Niane, A. (2024). Reaching out to marginalised populations in under-resourced countries. British Council. doi.org/10.57884/CZV4-7B08

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