By Kate James, Pearson
Edtech companies are in the business of building bridges — providing new tools, models and pathways that look to improve education, whether it’s through innovative business models or new delivery platforms that can effectively reach learners at scale.
At Pearson we are excited to continue in that vein in our new partnership with Save the Children called Every Child Learning, which aims to improve access to education and opportunities for children who have been affected or displaced by conflicts and other humanitarian emergencies -- starting with a pilot focused on Syrian refugee children in the Middle East.
With Every Child Learning, we are also moving beyond the donation-based charity model in which businesses venture to do good by providing funds for projects addressing social problems. Instead, we’ll be active participants in researching and coming up with solutions to the difficult question of how to provide reliable learning opportunities to vulnerable and displaced children.
Co-creation projects, such as Every Child Learning, where actors from various sectors collaborate to design programs and solutions, present an innovative approach that leverages the knowledge and resources of multiple parties to tackle a seemingly intractable challenge. Our aim is to create shared value by using our core expertise, resources and capabilities to make a difference in the communities and sectors in which we operate.
With Pearson’s global expertise on education and technology and Save the Children’s experience on the ground, we’ll aim to co-create much more than a stopgap solution that addresses a one-off situation. The unfortunate fact remains that with protracted conflicts around the world, the problem of access to quality education in such settings is one that also remains unresolved. Currently, half of the world’s out-of-school children — that’s over 28 million kids — are in this situation: victims not just of violence, conflict and war, but also of a lack of aid and attention when it comes specifically to receiving high-quality education.
Pearson will work with Save the Children to develop educational solutions that can be adapted and scaled to other conflict contexts around the world. For starters, we’re looking into new ways to provide teacher training and support, address language barriers, and create practical mobile learning experiences. By using the agile and lean methodologies of product development so prevalent in successful startups, we’ll be able to test and iterate quickly to ensure we’re truly meeting the needs of learners. We plan not just to co-create solutions, but also to continually learn and improve upon them, so that we arrive at replicable programs that improve education delivery not just for one but multiple communities.
Through Every Child Learning, we hope to make a real and long-term impact on the numbers of out-of-school children dealing with emergencies and conflict and bridge some of the gaps in the current model of humanitarian aid.
Image credit: Hannah Maule-ffinch/Save the Children