January 25, 2016
Carfax Education’s Head of Marketing, Jordan Martin, attended the World Economic Forum in Davos last week with our partner Save the Children. This year, the overarching theme of Davos was the Fourth Industrial Revolution and a myriad of corporates and NGOs discussed the role that this phenomenon will play in shaping the future of education on a global scale. Martin attended presentations and discussions on this subject with some of the world’s key players including Pearson, Boston Consulting Group, the Red Cross, and Accenture. The sentiment is positive, but there is an incredible amount of work to be done. Both corporates and NGOs emphasized that meaningful partnerships between their sectors will be paramount in tackling the enormous task of raising global educational standards. Technology will inevitably play a key role in creating positive change, but views on said role vary greatly.
Martin spoke with John Green, author of The Fault in Our Stars and YouTuber of the vlogbrothers channel, and his wife Sarah Urist Green, PBS host, about the role of film as an educational tool. Both are passionate about their medium and believe that it has the capacity to play a key role in facilitating positive change in the classroom, but that it is certainly not an alternative to actual teaching. Many other technology-based tools were discussed, but conversations were driven by a more fundamental question; what is the role of education in driving equality on a global scale? The BBC’s Nik Gowing said, “Education should promote an entrepreneurial mindset from an early age; the traditional system does not.” This outlook was widely shared as many believe that educating a generation of entrepreneurs in developing nations is one of the most promising means of advancing the people of these nations. Martin spent a lot of time with Save the Children’s CEO, Janti Soeripto, during his time in Davos. She noted that we must “[let] go of what we traditionally think of education to propel us forward.” Janti discussed education as the most essential tool in fostering civil society and ultimately achieving equality. These concepts were reoccurring throughout Martin’s time at Davos with special attention being paid to the correlation between education and income as well as women’s rights.
Pearson, the world’s largest education provider, made it very clear that their position in the segment obligates them to drive change. They are looking towards inclusive business models and expanding their network of charitable and development partners in order to fulfil this obligation. Their Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, Kate James, used a session to explore solutions that will allow child refugees to access an education and avoid a detrimental gap in their learning. Open education resources were discussed, but it was concluded that this is not a comprehensive solution. Corporates addressed the economic benefits of investing in education in developing countries; it is thought by many experts that the potential for innovation in both education and educational technology is greatest in these nations. Carfax is extremely interested in technology’s future role in education and Carfax Projects is continuously exploring this.
At Davos 2016 many issues, aims, and solutions were discussed. The issues are real, but the hope is greater. As education providers, consultants, facilitators, and supporters, we explored global educational commons, holistic policies, and investment sources. Davos was an incredible venue for generating solutions and sharing expertise. As everyone returns home, Carfax looks forward to watching these discussions become realities and doing its part to support such positive changes.