On 17th December, 2019 BRAC Social Innovation Lab organized a discussion forum on the topic ‘The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Education Technology’. Our CEO, Waliullah Bhuiyan was one of the guest speakers at the forum.

The objective of the forum was to understand how technology is shaping the future of education for Bangladesh and what are the solutions that should be scalable in context to Bangladesh. World Bank research shows that 70% of the primary level children are going to get into a job that doesn’t exist today. To prepare 30 million primary level children with necessary future skills like creativity, critical thinking, problem-solving, emotional intelligence, how technology can play a role.

During the discussion, interaction and Q&A session with the audience, the key take away for the session are following:

1. Everyone is worried about the future skills of children (creativity, problem-solving skill, empathy and values etc.) to cope with the 21st century.

2. However, it is very very difficult to figure out the right implementation method, technique and use of technology to develop creativity or problem-solving skills to small children.

3. Learning is a human process and needs the human touch, technology can’t replace that.

4. Developing skills of teachers to teach future skills to students should be the first implementation priority.

5. Educating every single parent on the importance of skills over GPA 5 is important.

6. Technology can be used for assessment of learning for children.

7. Admission test process should be changed. Otherwise, schools and parents will be only focusing on memorizing information.

8. Developing learning or educational app, game or content by the IT companies without knowledge about early childhood development knowledge will backfire.

9. Technology should be always used as a tool and user (students, teachers etc.) should be skilled to learn how to use technology.

10. Major stakeholders (Govt., NGO, startups etc.) can work together to scale tech-based solutions for children to learn at school and at home.

Interestingly, we have been working on most of these from Light of Hope for the last 4 years for primary level children in Bangladesh. Development of content to improve future skills, teacher skill development & parenting education at scale, school development program to provide future skills to students, use of technology solution like Sputnique (solar-run multimedia classroom in a backpack) are few solutions that we scaled quite significantly across the country.

So, it is time to collaborate and scale the solutions across the country. Govt., BRAC, Kindergarten Associations will be the key players for the scaling up in the schools.