Participants of the 6th Davos Philanthropic Roundtable: Expansion of online teaching methods will accelerate revolution in education

Expansion of online education will bring about dramatic changes in global education system in the nearest future. This topic was discussed by the participants of Philanthropic Roundtable organized by the Victor Pinchuk Foundation. The discussion participants voiced out different opinions about the expected results of the changes. 

Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft Corporation, one of the top philanthropists in the world, believes that the revolution in education is long overdue, but online education is only one moving force of this revolution. “The most important factor is motivation, but not the Internet. At the moment, online education sector is in constant search and attempts but the quality of online courses should improve phenomenally. Education certification and employer trust in it remain a significant problem. It is important who and how would define quality and compliance of the education”, Gates emphasized.

“Online education brings vast transformation opportunities, but it meets natural resistance of the existing conventional educational institutions”, Peter Thiel, Founders Fund partner believes. He focused attention of the Roundtable participants on the problem of access to high-standard education as today this is a key problem both for developing and developed countries. According to him, since the beginning of 1980-s the price of university education has increased 4 times and, in general, higher education is yet another economic “bubble”, because a diploma of the leading university does not guarantee high incomes at the workplace.

“The education sector should be redesigned in full”, Peter Thiel believes. According to him, the education includes three functions. The first is learning as it is, which is the main function of education. The second is insurance, which permits individuals choosing a school and university to guarantee potential employment and career. At last, the third function is tournament, which, unfortunately, brings a zero gain for the participants either at the exams or tests among schoolchildren or university students. “People should, first of all, define themselves which one is the most important component of education for them”, Peter Thiel emphasized.

Online education is a challenge to the universities, Rafael Reif, MIT President admits. He told in his speech at the Roundtable that upon the University proposed the opportunity to listen to online lectures, many students preferred this method. “This is reality, which should be respected”, he believes. And online education may therefore become a significant part of educational process. At the same time, Reif accented that the education consists not only of lectures. “Students learn to persuade, to negotiate, to work as a team. This method of education can’t be replaced by something else yet”, Reif believes.

Larry Summers, President Emeritus of Harvard University, believes that online education would bring the education system transformations, which we can’t even imagine today. In his opinion, online education has got “huge potential for implementation of absolutely new ideas using novel technologies. There are more opportunities here than in any other sector.” This is especially important for students and schoolchildren in the developing countries as they can get access to the advanced knowledge and high-standard education staying in their home countries. “The previous generation could hardly even imagine this situation”, he said.

Jimmy Wales, Founder of the Wikipedia, agrees with him. “Speaking of formal education, online methods are of almost zero effect on it. But the informal education sector experiences a real revolution. In the past, any person willing to get extra knowledge was to go to the library or register with a University course, nowadays a person can simply come to his place and have a home-based online access”, he said. 

Video record of the 6th Davos Philanthropic Roundtable " - Online Education Changing the World"

The Philanthropic Roundtable is organized each year at the occasion of the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum to bring together the world’s most renowned philanthropists and leaders from politics, the business community and the non-profit sector. Roundtable discussions address state-of-the-art approaches to problem-solving and seek to inspire the new global philanthropists of the future.

Since 2007, Roundtable panelists have included, among others, Tony Blair, Sir Richard Branson, Bill Clinton, Bill and Melinda Gates, Jet Li, Shimon Peres, Muhammad Yunus,H.E. Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Paulo Coelho, Sean Parker, Eric Schmidt, Alec Ross and others.

The 6th Davos Philanthropic Roundtable Telco Partner is Kyivstar.

The following day, Friday, January 25, 2013, 12.30-14.00 (GMT+1) the Victor Pinchuk Foundation and an international investment advisory group EastOne will hold the 9th Ukrainian Lunch.  Each year on the occasion of the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos this lunch meeting addressing current trends in Ukraine is hosted in order to promote the country among top international leaders and engage in a dialogue with the international community. Among previous speakers at this traditional event have been Viktor Yanukovych, Carl Bildt, Bill Clinton, Thomas Friedman, Bronislaw Komorowski, Aleksander Kwasniewski, Chris Patten, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, George Soros and others.

Contacts for media inquiries:
Dennis Kazvan
Communications Director of the Victor Pinchuk Foundation
E-mail: [email protected]
Tel: +380 44 494 11 48

Background information

The Victor Pinchuk Foundation is an international, private, non-partisan, philanthropic foundation based in Ukraine. The Foundation was established in 2006 by businessman and public figure Victor Pinchuk. Its goal is to empower future generations to become the change-makers of tomorrow. To achieve this goal, it develops a variety of projects, builds partnerships in Ukraine and worldwide, and invests in three main areas: 

  • in people, to boost human capital,
  • in society, to promote social responsibility,
  • in the world, to foster a more integrated world.

The projects of the Victor Pinchuk Foundation include the network of neonatal centres ‘Cradles of Hope’, the largest private scholarship program in Ukraine ‘Zavtra.UA’, the ‘WorldWideStudies’ project encouraging Ukrainian youth to get Master’s degrees in the world’s best universities, the center for contemporary art PinchukArtCentre, and the international network YES (Yalta European Strategy) to support Ukraine’s European integration.

The Foundation is a member of the European Foundation Center and the Ukrainian Grantmakers Forum. It cooperates with the Clinton Global Initiative, the Brookings Institution, the Peterson Institute for International Economics and other non-governmental organizations.

More information at:

The 6th Davos Philanthropic Roundtable Telco Partner is Kyivstar

“Kyivstar” is a top operator in the mobile phone market and one of the best brands in Ukraine. According to the results of the Ericsson Company’s annual study, the “Kyivstar” mobile network is one of the best in Europe and covers all the cities of Ukraine, as well as more than 28,000 rural settlements, all the main national and regional roads and most of the Ukrainian coastline. “Kyivstar” provides EDGE/GPRS services all over its coverage domain and roaming services in 195 countries on five continents. “Kyivstar” provides telecommunication services under “Kyivstar”, “djuice” and “Kyivstar Business” brands.

“Kyivstar” is an experienced player in the market of fixed-line communication services for business and broadband access powered by FTTB. The broadband network (“Home Internet” service) operates in 138 cities in Ukraine.

“Kyivstar” is a Ukrainian subsidiary of VimpelCom Ltd., the global telecommunications group, which operates in Europe, Asia and Africa.

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