Jiva Technology

The scramble for a quality education

As education continues its journey from being a good thing in itself to being primarily viewed as the gateway to well paid employment, the scramble for entry to high quality institutions has intensified to the point where bribery and corruption has now become commonplace.

Perhaps its merely one step further in an arms race where parents pour money into camps, tutoring, books, websites and other educational resources. But somehow everyone agrees that the recent allegations of cheating and bribery to gain access to prestige US universities crosses a very important line. It’s not throwing resources at the problem of improving student performance; its accepting poor performance and getting prize anyway.

Parents are stressed and under pressure, worrying that their children will be consigned to the slow lane no matter their capabilities if they don’t get into the right school or the right college. Unsurprisingly, that stress is being transmitted to the kids themselves. The fight for places ends up as a fight being waged by 5 year olds, 7 year olds and 17 year olds.

We cannot allow this situation to continue. We need to find a more flexible approach to reduce the stress levels and frustration that have built up over the last ten years. We cannot allow the best resources to be cornered by those with the most money. And it’s not simply a question of fairness, its a question about economic performance in a knowledge-based economy and the ability to solve the big problems in our societies.

Flexibility inevitably needs to thoughts about technology. It simply has to be the case that with intelligent application, technology can make a major impact on the availability and quality of teaching for people at all ages, not just at school and university. So far, we’ve been making baby steps in that direction. Perhaps it’s time to turn them into giant strides.

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