We are being bombarded with articles, blogs and tweets about
technology and how it is changing education. The talk is of MOOCs, flipped
classrooms, on-line degree programs, blended or hybrid on-line/face-to-face
programs, etc., etc. Every business school in the industrial countries and many
in the developing world are experimenting. Other education providers are
by-passing traditional business schools altogether.
Most of the discussion is about schools and other providers
serving students in advanced industrial countries. While discussants assume in
a general way that technology will greatly benefit students in developing
countries, relatively little has been said about differences between advanced
and developing markets. In fact the differences are formidable. For one thing,
internet access is still extremely limited in the developing world. Even in
South Africa, a relatively advanced economy, only one-tenth of households have
internet access at home, while access is taken for granted in industrial countries.
Instead, solutions are being sought for adapting interactive pedagogy to mobile
phone platforms, since mobiles (smart or not) are by far the most available
devices in the developing world. Because almost everyone in the advanced
economies have internet access, there is little incentive for major commercial
players to invest in mobile education research.
Furthermore, in contrast to mobile financial services, a viable business
model does not exist yet for mobile education.
Then there is the daunting challenge of delivering
locally-relevant educational content. While some topics, such as accounting,
have elements of universal relevance, most of the existing stock of textbooks,
courses and especially teaching cases may be of little practical relevance to a
small enterprise manufacturing chairs in Kumasi or a small travel agency in the
mountains of Yunnan. Jonathan Doh and I
published an article last week in the FT about possible partnerships between
business schools in advanced and developing countries can benefit both. [link].
I am therefore pleased to announce that GBSN and INSEAD are
planning a one-day event in Singapore , April 5, 2014, on the subject of
Tapping the Potential of Technology to Transform Management Education,
back-to-back with AACSB’s International Conference and Annual Meeting
Guy Pfeffermann is the Founder and CEO of the Global Business School Network.