We are wrapping up our annual meeting at Davos. I find my time here energizing – a lot of leaders with a passion for improving the world. That includes our Information Communications Technology Global Agenda Council.
On Thursday I chaired a session with the Council. We focused on the potential of mobile education. The potential to turn mobile phones into teachers, classes and libraries. The potential to extend basic education to the millions children not enrolled in school. The potential to accelerate access to vocational training and higher education.
With almost 6 billion mobile devices in use, we have a global platform to leverage. But to move Education into the main stream, we need more applications. With applications designed to extend reach, we will improve education quality and, more importantly, people’s capacity to earn wages, innovate, and to participate in the formal economy.
We also discussed the need to accelerate mobile health and mobile finance (the ability to access health care and financial services through a mobile device). But, like with mEducation, we need applications which are demand-based and user-centric. We think young people can play an important role here.
If we educate young people on basic application programming, we have the potential to spark some creative new applications while empowering people to take participate more fully in the digital economy as both consumers and producers.
We see evidence this can work. Now we need to multiply some of the small case successes. And we need the help of leaders and citizens across the globe to make this happen.
WEF is a great place to get the attention of leaders, highlight organizations that are redefining paradigms, and build a shared commitment to making mobile devices’ potential real. That’s what we are doing here this week.
Rajeev Singh-Molares is the Chair of the World Economic Forum’s ICT Agenda Council, Executive Vice President of Alcatel-Lucent and President of the Asia Pacific Region.
Pictured: A girl views a new iPad tablet computer at an Apple store during its UK launch in central London May 28, 2010. Diehard fans mobbed Apple Inc stores in Asia and Europe as the iPad tablet computer went on sale outside the United States for the first time on Friday. The device, a little smaller than a letter-size sheet and with a colour touchscreen, is designed for surfing the Web, watching movies and reading. It has been hailed by the publishing industry as a potential life-saver. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor