Commissioned by Cisco, Participle's Charles Leadbeater interviewed 100 social entrepreneurs seeking to meet huge needs without the advantage of traditional resources. What we can learn from social entrepreneurs are innovating radically new ways to take learning into the poorest places in to the world.
"In the next few decades, hundreds of millions of young, poor families will migrate to cities in the developing world in search of work and opportunity. Education provides them with a shared sense of hope. Many will be the first generation in their families to go to school. It is vital that the hopes they invest are not disappointed.
Yet even in the developed world, education systems that were established more than a century ago still under-perform, mainly because they fail to reach and motivate large portions of the population. These ingrained problems of low aspiration and achievement among the most disinvested communities in the developed world are proving resistant to traditional treatment.
This report outlines four basic strategies governments in the developing and developed world can pursue to meet these challenges: improve, reinvent, supplement, and transform schools and learning. [...]
To make learning effective in the future, to teach the skills children will need, on the scale they will be needed (especially in the developing world), will require disruptive innovation to create new, low-cost, mass models for learning. [...]
That kind of disruptive innovation may not come from the best schools. It is much more likely to come from social entrepreneurs who often seek to meet huge need without the resources for traditional solutions: teachers, text books and schools. Disruptive innovation frequently starts in the margins rather than the mainstream.
Governments should continue to look to the very best school systems to guide improvement strategies. But increasingly they should also look to social entrepreneurs working at the extremes who may well create the low-cost, mass, participatory models of learning that will be needed in future."
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