Equality through opportunity

I was reading through some articles on Apple Education with the view to help my daughter have access to extra curricular learning resources through her Ipad.  At only 9 years old she tells me she wants to study medicine.  The material really impressed me.  

 

I am currently involved with building a village school in rural south west Madagascar, part of the Madagascar Surf Lodge Community School Project and wondering what resources would be useful for the Malagasy kids.

 

My political view often swings between capitalist and socialist.  I am probably not alone in this view.  I feel every human has the right to create wealth and security for themselves and the future generations of their family but I also believe in equal opportunity for all.  So how do we create a world where individuals can advance personal wealth but also share it amongst the world community?

 

The “rich” could share their wealth to the wider community in need or the “poor”.  But equally "the poor" could benefit more by helping themselves.  The usual method is through government taxation and a heavier presence of “state” in the equalisation of wealth and of course international aid.  The argument of the capitalist is that the interference of “state” slows the potential for growth.  The argument of “state” is they require funds to run programs, health service, education etc….and so the political balancing & politicians chasing their tails on our tax $ continues.

We are entering the dawn of a new age both exciting and full of hope.  Words such as “citizenship”, “globilisation” and "ethical programs" are positive signs we are moving beyond relying on antiquated systems of “national government”.  There are still decades to go but we have started…do we need the “middlemen” to rule our resources, allocate opportunities?

 

The grass roots of potential is in the business of technology as in all great periods of human advancements, technology holds the greatest possibilities of our universal evolution.

 

We see crypto currencies avoiding the centralisation control of banking & governement regulation putting peer to peer value exchange back in the hands of the people.  Crypto currencies flow beyond borders and national lines drawn on maps and have the potential for more efficient global transactions.

My time in Africa I have seen technology advancing this idea.  We’re not used to Africa taking lead in new technology. Necessity, they say, is the mother of invention and it couldn’t be more true in case of Africa, where pre-paid airtime is the fastest growing ‘virtual’ currency, overcoming conventional currency exchange, government corruption, huge fluctuations in currency value and lack of banking infrastructure.

 

There are over 100 million mobile phones in Africa, and it is one of the fastest growing mobile regions.  Smartphones are already used for music & movie downloads, messaging, social media debate and personal piggy banking.

 

Kenya is home to an impressive cutting-edge Vodafone mobile tool: M-PESA, a system for sending both minutes and money via SMS. (The “m” stands for mobile. Pesa is Swahili for money.) Airtime minutes automatically load onto the phone of their recipient. 

Seeing the development of phone credit currency in Africa got me thinking of the idea that with a simple smartphone any child in the world suddenly has access to first world education opportunities.  Its a real game changer. 

 

In the words of educationalist Dr. Sheila Edwards Lange when talking about equality of educational opportunity for black African Americans, “Education is a civil right. Access to education is access to opportunity. It is the path to career advancement. The key to closing the income gap. It can drive equity in housing. It is a proven determinant of overall health and wellbeing. It will mold the future African American leaders of industry, politics and social justice.”

 

These words, these ideas are true not just for young black Americans but for our world children.  I am so positive of technology being the conduit of change and oportunity for all.  Perhaps building a school in the traditional sense from bricks and mortar is old fashioned like building a bank with a vault for storing cash.  Maybe the answer is to raise money to provide Ipads & mobile technology and acces to online education resources in multiple languages.

 

To help with the the Madagascar Surf Lodge School Community Project you can simply share this article and the Fundraiser on Facebook where, if you can spare it, donate.  Even a small amount, goes along way in Madagascar.