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Three educational priorities of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

During his keynote speech at the ASU+GSV Summit, Bill Gates outlined the three educational platforms his foundation will be prioritizing to best serve the current and future generation of American students.

The latest high school graduate rates in America are at 81%–the highest levels in over 6 years—and are expected to reach 90% by 2020. While this is excellent news for K-12 education the success is not translating over into higher education. According to Gates, only 12% of African American, 25% of Hispanic, and 50% of Caucasian students graduating high school are prepared for college.

These “stunningly low” numbers, according to Gates, are also indicative of another serious problem in higher education: less than half of post-secondary students complete their degree within six years.

These numbers pose serious consequences for the upcoming U.S. economy and workforce. By 2025, two-thirds of jobs will require a postsecondary credential. At the current rate of matriculation, there will be a gap of 11 million students qualified for these positions.

In order to ensure students are receiving the resources and support they need to graduate from higher education, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will be funding initiatives in the following three areas:

Personalized learning solutions

Recent advancements in educational technology are providing K-12 and postsecondary students with unprecedented opportunities to identify and overcome their specific academic challenges. This personalized approach is a significant improvement over the general remedial courses “far too many students have to take” and better positions them for academic and future success.

Collaboration between EdTech developers and teachers

Education technology shows no signs of slowing down, but there remains a need for increased collaboration between developers and teachers/administrators. Developers need to build stronger relationships with educators to better understand the solutions they need.

Adoption of proven education technologies

Educational technology have made significant strides in streamlining and facilitating areas such as collaborative learning, personalized learning, and administration. Gates believes that within the next 5 years, the majority of schools in K-12 and higher education should integrate some form of educational technology into their everyday operations.

Student success in higher education is becoming increasingly linked to the economic and social well-being of the United States. Fortunately, government and non-profit organizations have recognized this and are investing in providing our students with increased opportunities to succeed.

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About the Author: Dustin is a senior account manager with DesignedUX, providing communications and marketing strategy to organizations in education and technology. Dustin is also a part-time faculty member at Centennial College and serves on the board of the Canadian Public Relations Society.

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