Some years ago, I was on a plane to Bangkok, with my best friend, who has since passed away. He was in the real property development business. He commented that schools are probably one of the most under-utilized category real estate.
Many rich people desire to build schools, particularly in the rural areas to reach out to the less privileged corners of society. But all too often, after a few years, such schools are dilapidated and abandoned. Maintenance is costly, and will not be sufficiently funded from school fees. On top of that, getting good teachers to the far flung provinces is a challenge.
We then brainstormed about fitting out old shipping containers with PC workstations. Then collaborate with local telcos to provide not only internet connection, but also access to cellular signal. Consider also the possibility of having solar panels on the roof, so that this “container internet center” can operate without being connected to the grid.
Look for a village that is receptive, and plonk this down there. Children from the village and surrounding areas can come to these “container internet centers” and access the internet for world class online education, and have world class educators connecting with them.
When not used for this purpose, this can be used as any internet center for recreation, for communication, or for doing work online. The fees earned from this, and for selling cell phones, load and accessories, will hopefully be able to maintain this facility.
If for any reason, it does not work out, this can be pulled out and plonked down somewhere else. Probably is not as simply as it sounds, but I hope one day to find out.
9 thoughts on “Levelling the Playing Field in Education – taking it another notch”
Thanks for sharing that interesting discussion with your friend. In my opinion, education should be used effectively to achieve goals and create development. It should be accessible for all to encourage more people and facilitate learning.
Can’t agree with you more.
Education is one of the primary needs of every individual for him/her to attain self fulfillment and have a decent life. I am proud of your advocacy Mr. Ng.
Let me just share that here in my country, there is one particular show called “Eat Bulaga”, they have one segment “Plastic ni Juan” or everyone’s plastic bottle container. They gathered these by visiting every remote places and transformed the proceeds in buying classroom’s chairs for a public school they chose to donate with when they reached 50 pieces. Every week, they do this noble deeds for the poor classrooms especially victims of heavy storms, earthquakes and other nature calamities. One of the influential host of the said show asked gifts ( notebooks, pencils, ball pens, pad papers and used books) from studio audiences and viewers every 28th of April ( his birthday) to be distributed again in the public schools nationwide.
Like him, you uses the modern technology and social media to influence people help in educating the less fortunate children.
I was also a product of public school in primary education (1976-1982), everything is done manually, typewriters, textbooks and encyclopedias. Now, with computers, modernised communications and teaching using installed softwares.
All we need is funds for education.
I find this article a very good one. Simply because it shows a very good idea not only to enhance education but also to give job opportunities. Having the facilities mentioned in the article such as workstations and reliable internet connection, will encourage the children to attend their daily classes. In addition to that, with world-class educators connected to them will enable them to learn faster. Thus education will be enhanced and quality learning can be met. Also it will open job opportunities not only to those who graduated with degree but also to those who managed to finish their secondary education.
This is such an innovative idea! I have read some projects like this on our university blog, on how to bring technology (computer, mobile, web, etc.) to the rural and underprivileged communities. This example here could be fitting for a master’s thesis project. The proposed idea looks simple but I know putting it into action requires considerable effort and patience. But if successful, this idea can be revolutionary in its own ways and consequently it will bridge the gap between the information-rich and information-poor communities. As mentioned, it not only provides access to education through the Internet but it can be a sustainable source of livelihood as well.
Education as an advocacy is always very noble. No matter how many takes this up as their own cause, there will always be one village or group of people who would not be able to enjoy its benefits.
Even developed countries like the U.S. have schools that need attention and until a private individual or organization takes notice, they will continue to lag behind their counterparts. Sadly, most governments take a slice off the education budget and put it somewhere that is “of high priority.” But what is more important than giving your citizens an opportunity to learn skills which will help them improve themselves and consequently, contribute to the country’s economy?
Thankfully, there are people who do not think twice about helping their fellowmen in attaining basic skills. They use their own funds, quit their corporate jobs, and risk their lives, like Malala Yousafzai, so that others can be educated. Here in the Philippines, Efren Penaflorida provided education to homeless children/street gangs through a pushcart laden with school books. He was recognized by CNN and the monetary reward he received was used to double the funds for his advocacy. In spite the shortcomings of the national government, the Philippine business community is becoming more engaged in delivering informal education to our underprivileged countrymen.
In modern times, being updated with technology is the way of saying that one is innovative. But innovation is how one maximizes the knowledge and creatively forming ways in doing things, thinking and solving problems, and most importantly, sharing and helping marginalized people gain knowledge to help them develop and make a change in their lives.
Education is a basic human right. there’s a quotation in Persian “Seek knowledge from birth to grave.” In todays era technology is actually contributing highly in providing equal opportunities to learners; get education. No matter in any corner of the world.
I have experienced being a refugee myself, learning through Coursera online courses. It’s responsibility of everyone to share their knowledge with privileged students in various parts of world. It’s a great opportunity to contribute; help to build a better world by sharing knowledge.
Building schools in rural areas comes with a whole lot of issues. Aside the inability of fees to maintain the school structure, getting quality teachers to move to these rural areas to teach is another big challenge. One has to also secure accomodation for the teachers who will agree to go to those areas to teach.
A movable self-powered internet center for learning is the best solution to bridge the gap between rural-urban education. Students in these areas will have access to, not only quality tution but also get the opportunity to use new technologies to broaden their horizon.