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Equity in education – the digital solution

Humankind has never been more poised to democratise learning than at this very moment. We have the technology to make online learning engaging and effective; we have families in developing countries eager to use new education tools to launch their children on secure career paths; and we have arrived at the point of widespread acceptance of online learning as a viable educational option.

"I believe we’re on the brink of a new era of educational possibilities, an era that could put an end to learning disparity and inequality"

This alignment is possible, in large part, because pandemic learning showed us what online teaching could achieve and what it could not. In the years since the Covid-19 pandemic, online learning has rapidly evolved.

This is not only because teachers and learning institutions strengthened the weak points, but also because the demand for online learning has exploded.

Today, over 60% of all US college students take courses online, even if they are just a few miles away from the professor.

Many adults are also pursuing online education, whether to obtain an MBA or gain new skills to boost their career or pivot to a new industry. The demand for online learning has never been greater, and to meet that demand, there has been a surge in the development of digital learning technology.

As a digital education entrepreneur for nearly three decades, I have watched this evolution with great interest.

I am astonished by the rapidity with which society has accepted and adapted to online learning and am increasingly hopeful for what this transition from traditional brick-and-mortar schools to digital ones could mean for the democratisation of learning worldwide. I believe we’re on the brink of a new era of educational possibilities, an era that could put an end to learning disparity and inequality.

High-quality educationno longer a luxury

For centuries, the rich and powerful have sent their children to the best schools and universities, where they learned from esteemed teachers and professors. But not everyone can afford to pay tuition to expensive private schools or universities, let alone win admission.

For most, a four-year degree from Harvard, Berkeley, or MIT is simply unobtainable.

But what if it wasn’t? What if there was a way to transmit the expertise of a renowned Harvard economics professor to students in Peru or South Korea? Not via massive open online courses, but a digital exchange that brings the student into the Harvard lecture hall where they can talk to the student next to them, ask a question, and work on written, oral and video assignments that help them apply what they have learned into practice.

Not only is this exact scenario possible, but it’s already a reality for university students. Now, how about making this type of learning available to middle and high school students? How about bringing this type of education to developing nations where middle-class families are clamouring for new educational opportunities for their children?

This is what Hudson Global Scholars is doing. And we’re just getting started.

The new frontier of digital education

In the US, there is much discussion about levelling the playing field so that all children can access top-quality education. This should be the mission of a democratic society, but digital education gives us the opportunity to do something much bigger—it gives us the chance to extend top-quality education to children around the globe.

“For decades, there have been opportunities for top international students (or immensely wealthy ones) to come to US campuses”

For decades, there have been opportunities for top international students (or immensely wealthy ones) to come to US campuses to pursue a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, or doctorate.

This has been great for training elite foreign professionals, but at Hudson, we are focused on opening the door to thousands of international youths. These young people want a place in the English-speaking world but need early access to English-based learning, Western-skills training, and advanced technology to make it happen.

The Hudson pedagogical method is based on North American academic techniques that are proven to be more effective than rote memorisation and pass-or-fail exams. Hudson digital courses teach students how to process complex information and handle fast-paced change confidently.

We teach multicultural and technical skills that students need to succeed on a US campus and in the English-speaking global economy.

Hudson students come from Brazil, Turkey, Japan and many other nations. They want a chance to study at a US college or university, but this doesn’t always mean they want to work in the US.

Often, they want a job in their own country, but the best jobs are those with an international scope, so fluency in English and a solid understanding of Anglophone culture are mandatory.

For example, right now in Kenya, there are hundreds of jobs available in tech, including at Google. But those jobs will only go to Kenyans who can speak English fluently, interact with international colleagues appropriately, and function in a workplace that runs on Microsoft apps and Zoom.

When we apply digital education – the best digital education – to deliver on these learning goals, we bulldoze through dozens of employment and economic barriers. And we change – forever – the trajectory of the lives of thousands of young people. Instead of languishing in mediocre jobs and earning low pay that won’t support a family, we give them a springboard to multi-generational success.

We’re on the edge of a radical global social movement, and I couldn’t be more excited or proud to be part of it.

Read more about Hudson Global Scholars here 

About the author: This is a sponsored post by Bruce Davis, chief executive officer at Hudson Global Scholars. Bruce has worked and travelled extensively throughout the world and led many innovative efforts. He was Chief Operating Officer of Prometric and managed the company roll-out into more than 100 countries, bringing access to standardized examinations and higher education to students everywhere. Bruce created and developed Discovery Education’s streaming video service, now the largest video education provider, reaching millions of students. He has built and operated numerous private schools ranging from the Kisubi School in Uganda to the International School of Berne in Switzerland. Bruce was the Chief Strategy officer for K12/Stride inc., the largest online school and a significant operator of charter schools in the US. He was CEO of Teachstone Training, a leader in teacher professional development and assessment. In his early career he worked for Deloitte consulting on assignment in Cairo Egypt. Bruce continues his journey to positively affect as many students as possible through mass education.

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