I was honored to be invited to share our work at Solve Education! at the World Education Congress 2017. The conference was held on 23rd November at Taj Lands End, Mumbai.

What pleasantly surprised me was where the conference organizers recognized and celebrated 50 amazing women in the education sector. And that was followed by a panel session with 6 female leaders, where they shared their personal journeys. The thing that struck me most was that all of these ladies have extremely supportive mothers, who pushed them to achieve their potential. At the same time, they have understanding and encouraging husbands who #leanin.

The topic that I spoke about was “The Role of Technology in Addressing Global Education Inequality”. The demographic that we are focussing on at Solve Education! is the 263 million children and youth who do not go to school today. The majority of this demographic will not be able to attend schools no matter how many schools we build, because of economical, infrastructural, political and cultural reasons. While access to education has been improving with the NGOs and other organizations building schools and training teachers, this specific demographic is still being left behind.

Mobile phones have made their way into the hands of our target audience, today over 80% of our target audience have immediate access to a smartphone (they are one degree of connection away from a smartphone owner). In fact, by 2020, more people will have mobile phones than electricity at home. We see this as a golden opportunity to teach through mobile devices – and hence we have created Dawn of Civilization, our educational game app to teach.

Source: 10th Annual Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) 2016

I strongly believe that technology has a very important role to play, in addressing global education inequality. We have already seen how technology has addressed problems faced in the health sector. And we are now seeing innovation technology created to address environmental issues. I am highly optimistic that we can leverage on technology, to deliver quality education to everyone – including the people who do not have access today.

“When innovation comes, there is a chance that people will be left behind. We have an obligation to ensure that the [technology] gap doesn’t get bigger, but that it gets narrower” – Mary Snapp, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Philanthropy.

Thank you for reading and joining us on our journey!

Author: Janine Teo