Sugata Mitra – Education scientist
Well, that’s kind of an obvious statement up there. I started with that sentence about 12 years ago, and I started in the context of developing countries, but you’re sitting here from every corner of the world.
So if you think of a map of your country, I think you’ll realize that for every country on Earth, you could draw little circles to say, “These are places where good teachers won’t go.” On top of that, those are the places from where trouble comes. So we have an ironic problem — good teachers don’t want to go to just those places where they’re needed the most.
I started in 1999 to try and address this problem with an experiment, which was a very simple experiment in New Delhi. I basically embedded a computer into a wall of a slum in New Delhi. The children barely went to school, they didn’t know any English — they’d never seen a computer before, and they didn’t know what the internet was. I connected high speed internet to it — it’s about three feet off the ground — turned it on and left it there.
After this, we noticed a couple of interesting things, which you’ll see. But I repeated this all over India and then through a large part of the world and noticed that children will learn to do what they want to learn to do. This is the first experiment that we did — eight year-old boy on your right teaching his student, a six year-old girl, and he was teaching her how to browse.