Davos Philanthropic Roundtable: NEWS


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 RevolutiOnline.edu 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 of the 6th Davos Philanthropic Roundtable "RevolutiOnline.edu - 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.

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7th Philanthropic Roundtable organized by the Victor Pinchuk Foundation in Davos, began with a moment of silence for Ukraine


7th Philanthropic Roundtable organized by the Victor Pinchuk Foundation in Davos, began with a moment of silence for Ukraine


Video Address by Alec Ross

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