[RE]LEARN 2020 - The Learning Innovation Festival has ended
Thursday, November 12 • 21:00 - 21:15
Achieving educational equity and bridging the digital divide

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Learning Objective: to contextualise what education equity means in 2020 and how the coronavirus pandemic has illuminated existing inequalities.

Talent is evenly distributed. However, Opportunities are not. With 26% of the world population under the age of 15, realizing the demographic dividend is critical to raising living standards. In the face of coronavirus disruptions, the goal has not only become more challenging but also more important because even the young adults who weren't at risk pre-covid are now at risk. While the current situation is scary and disruptive it can also be transformative. Leveraging the Covid-19 forced situation to figure and scale better ways to drive remote delivery of learning and skills will also help us solve the access issue that has set back young adults historically. Shaping creative solutions during this crisis to provide more offline (digital and print) solutions will also bring down the digital divide leading to a more equitable world. Making significant strides on access and equity will put us on a better path to achieving one of the UN’s Sustainable Development Education Goals (SDG 4).

• Historically, education has been the shortest bridge between the haves and the have-nots, bringing progress and prosperity for both individuals and countries, but the current education system is showing its age. Founded at a time when industries needed workers with a relatively fixed set of skills and knowledge, it is losing its relevance in an era of innovation, disruption and constant change, where adaptability and learning agility are most needed.

• According to UNICEF, more than 72 million children of primary education age are not in school, while 750 million adults are illiterate and do not have the ability to improve their and their children’s living conditions. As we take on education transformation, daisy-chaining across three crucial categories (access, equity, quality/impact) is critical for unleashing potential.

• The impact of school closures during the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected the world’s most disadvantaged children in low-income families. A survey of 1,000 frontline workers conducted by the charity Buttle revealed many social workers and teachers believe COVID-19 is “devastating the life chances of the UK’s most vulnerable children”.

• A lack of face-to-face contact between teachers and pupils has resulted in many vulnerable children flying under the radar instead of being flagged with social services – it is no wonder that education is unofficially known as the fourth emergency service.

• It is time to ensure that every child has a fair chance at achieving highly – irrespective of their socio-economic background. The coronavirus pandemic has exposed and even exacerbated existing social inequalities, so a cohesive and ambitious plan is needed across education systems globally.

We must all commit to collectively work to break the shackles holding education back and limiting student potential. Let’s blend the lessons of the past with the technology of the present and future to truly transform education, giving students the ability to think, learn and evolve no matter what the challenges that await them tomorrow and unleash their potential to benefit the world.

avatar for Karthik Krishnan

Karthik Krishnan

Global CEO, Britannica Group
Karthik believes in the transformative power of education and is passionate about enabling lifelong learning, transformative leadership and societal impact. He is the Global CEO of Britannica Group. He is also an Adjunct Professor at New York University Stern Business School. He serves... Read More →

Thursday November 12, 2020 21:00 - 21:15 CET