New technology to help develop education in fragile states

New innovations in edu-tech and ideas to transform learning were introduced at Slush, which is a massive event in Helsinki Finland for European and Asian start-ups and investors. This year several start-up initiatives participated from East and South Africa. Photo: Satu Helin

New education technology offers solutions to increase the pedagogical skills of teachers, production of innovative learning materials and distance teaching in developing countries and crisis areas, says Laura Vanhanen, adviser on education for Finn Church Aid at Slush2014 -event on Wednesday.

At the event, FCA and its cooperation partner Rovio discussed with the World Bank delegation of the ways to strengthen the education sector in fragile states through the use of new technology.

Slush is an event centered around start-ups and technology that is organised yearly in Helsinki. This year innovations on learning and education were one of the main themes. Finn Church Aid does significant work in the education sector in many of its programme countries.

“Learning as a whole is at a turning point. New innovations could be used at refugee camps and in crisis situations. These ideas were also discussed with the World Bank delegation”, Vanhanen says.

According to Vanhanen, applications and ideas on developing and supporting teachers’ pedagogical skills are in great demand. With them a teacher can accomplish a lot, even at a rural school that doesn’t have much equipment.

Also, applications on distance learning and using global networks for sharing information would be useful also in crisis regions.

Education sector innovations also from developing countries

Development  organisations and start-up companies both share a global operational environment.

“Organisations know the field and have first-hand knowledge on which ideas and products have actual demand in the education sector in developing countries, which is a clear advantage for collaboration with the private sector”

At Slush event several speakers and participants highlighted that start-ups and humanitarian and development cooperation  organisations should collaborate more in the future.

Vanhanen agrees. “ But one must not become arrogant. This is not about taking our ideas elsewhere. There’s a constant influx of innovations from developing countries – also for the education sector. Learning is mutual.

Text: Satu Helin