Is there hope?
If we focus at aggressively expanding quality education so more people have skills that complement and benefit from innovation, making sure that everyone shares in the overall benefits of the knowledge economy.
In a world of rising inequality and threats to the long-term sustainability of democracy on multiple fronts, how can education help?
How can it contribute to more inclusive global economic growth?
Can we reduce cultural and economic tribalism and help harness the extraordinary technological developments of our age for the public good?
Education must become the genuine engine of social mobility and equality of opportunity, it must become even more accessible for all of our citizens and more prevalent for life long learning.
We need to clearly recognize that education is not owned by anyone of its stakeholders; not the government, nor the teachers or institutions by themselves will drive the changes required.
The challenges ahead need to be confronted with broader strengths; in more collaborative and multidisciplinary ways, to help address problems that neither of the established frameworks can tackle on their own. More and more we are recognizing that the kinds of challenges that face us cannot be solved by government and philanthropy alone.
It is a classic “wicked problem”, combining technological, economic, social, cultural and political dimensions.
And yet if we do not provide new policy approaches, informed by data, open for private investments in innovation and a stronger balance of the voices from students, teachers, institutions, government and private leaders, the impact throughout the world will be devastating.
Bringing the team together
A call to action
It is time to bring together academics, entrepreneurs, scientists, economists, philosophers, investors, political leaders and community groups to tackle education from a “complex systems” perspective.
Business has an important role to play, particularly businesses that are thinking about the full consequences of their actions on the students, on workers, and on the planet.
None of these contributions are easy to achieve. Schools and Universities are a vital part of the transformation agenda, but so are the entrepreneurs and the investors when supported by decisive public policies.
They need to jointly embrace the challenge of becoming the engine rooms of social mobility in an age of rising inequality, deep technological change and profound social and cultural shifts.
They must also remind us that higher learning is also about finding out what makes us human in the first place.
A plausible and possible future > making money matters
I envision a path to promote impact edupreneurs, to invest in innovative education businesses that deliver commercial solutions while solving global educational challenges at scale, in credible and measurable ways.
I believe we can raise the stakes for the emerging field of impact investing in education, promote the pledge from private equity firms to deliver market-beating returns (in gross “internal rate of return”), while demonstrating that they can, at the same time, deliver specific, measurable educational impact.
They shall commit to generating a specific “impact multiple of money” from each educational investment.
It is important to ensure that each investment is aligned with the U.N.’s global goals and make an effort to validate metrics by a non-governmental organization.
Improvements to companies environmental, social and governance performance should be guided by the Sustainable Accounting Standards Board’s “materiality” analysis.
Specifically they should focus deeply on specific goals:
Next page- Hold all educational endeavors to the highest standards. Make Education an attractive field for innovation
About the author
Fernando is currently head of Aspen Institute education program in Mexico and Partner at Global Impact Edtech Alliance. He was formerly President McGraw-Hill Education, Latin America. He is a recognized senior executive, entrepreneur, speaker and board level leader with international background. He has founded and led successful enterprises in Latin America for over 25 years. He holds a Degree in Computer Science from the Universidad Iberoamericana, and an MBA in International Business by the University of Miami. Active member of Wharton Fellows, ENOVA Network of Latin America CEOs, Center for Hemispheric Policy and Council of the Americas, and board member at Inroads. He was most recently President at Cengage Learning / National Geographic Learning Latin America and founder of LINNEA the First Laboratory for Innovation in Learning Experiences in Latin America. There Fernando lead the transformation of the educational models and creating high value learning experiences by engaging students with technology.Website LinkedIn