Why Edtech Matters to the Rights of the Child?

The anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) helps us question the role of innovation in education to make reality CRC article 28: “Every child has the right to an education.”

Susan Hopgood of Education International reminds us how important education is for all of us. According to the My World UN survey we are 63% to believe that education is what most matters on top of any other social issues. The UN makes clear that a good education requires that governments and the private sector should work together to provide opportunities for lifelong learning. Public-private partnership is also central to the SDGs achievements(SDG #17) and obviously to SDG #4 to ensure “inclusive and quality education for all”.

unicef right education

How could innovators in education contribute to this goal? Gabrielle Thomas has no doubt that edtech startups can make a significant contribution. She mentions “user experience improvements, design thinking tools and Lean methodologies”. Can we be more specific? Which are the key challenges that edtech entrepreneurs can help address?

Let’s list some of them: lack of local educative resources, textbook scarcity (and cost), learning hubs with online resources to substitute jammed classrooms, Artificial Intelligence to offer new mentoring/tutoring facilities, new type of learning spaces adapted to local participatory cultures. We see the importance of innovation to ensure that education responds to local culture and isn’t diluted into a “one size fits all” approach based on universal LMS or adaptive learning solutions.

Solutions should first come from emerging countries themselves. They know best local cultures specificities. Kytabu, a Kenyan startup and winner of the 2nd Global EdTech Startup Awards, a competition co-organized by Israeli startup accelerator, MindCET and PAU Education and its Open Education Challenge, offers an app capable of delivering digital textbooks, and assessments to students. Asafeer, a Dubai based startup and winner of the Transforming Education Prize at the Seedstars Summit provides an Arabic-language app for children.

But on top of all edtech magic, teachers remain the key to resolve the education challenge.  They are the “graphite inside the pencil” that most matters to education improvements. Have a look at how Rania Ezzat initiative use technology to teach SDG to her students in Egypt. This is at the end what education is about: a global approach to solve all problems – including in her case desertification – and not only specific education issues.

This is why innovators in education must endorse a global commitment for social change to make a real difference for children’s future.

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