October 11, 2010 | By Bill Gates
Improving College Completion in the U.S.
Although more young people than ever are attending college, most never graduate. Many are unprepared for college and others drop out because of work commitments, family obligations or financial constraints.
Many educators are excited about the role of technology in education. Billions of dollars have been spent putting computers into classrooms, yet the kind of technological revolution that has transformed business, government, healthcare, and many other areas has not occurred in our schools.
It’s important, but no longer sufficient, simply to make PCs available at school for research and writing. What’s needed now are creative, smart new solutions. What if the best lectures in the world were available to everyone? Technology also should help students assess where they are in a particular subject area, and then help that student proceed at his or her own pace.
I’m excited about an initiative announced this week – Next Generation Learning Challenges – that will accelerate the integration of technology in ways that substantially improve learning. The foundation joined with several education organizations and other funders to establish Next Generation Learning Challenges. Its objective is to identify the most promising uses of technology in education and expand them to reach more students, teachers, and schools.
There is growing evidence that technology can improve education by providing more engaging curriculum. It allows students and teachers to see in real-time how they’re doing, and can help educators sharpen their teaching skills. Technology also has the potential to deliver education at lower cost, which is especially important as schools face increasing competition for scarce government dollars.
Improving college readiness and completion for students in the U.S. is imperative – for young people, for our society, and for the country’s economic future.