Oracle foresees opportunities in debate on education quality

Monday, October 3, 2011

The ongoing debate on the quality of education in Chile will create opportunities for Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL), Juan Rada, the company's senior VP for global public sector, healthcare and education, told BNamericas.

"What's being discussed now is that there must be quality in education. But once that is over, the question is, 'How?' And when it comes to 'how,' Oracle already has solutions and experience for that," he said.

According to Rada, the key is personalization, for which you need a centralized IT platform that allows authorities and teachers to control the educational environment for students.

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An example is the education system in Australia's Victoria state. There, some 550,000 students are supported by an Oracle platform, which allows them to customize their education. The initiative was jointly developed with the local education ministry.

The centralized online platform allows teachers to divide the class by learning groups - for example, those who learn more easily by reading repeatedly or by visual memory.

"One of the problems with school performance is thinking that the variety of learning styles among students is irrelevant," Rada said.

Additionally, the platform automates administrative tasks for teachers, "which leaves more time for teachers to actually be teachers."

According to Rada, the problem with Nicholas Negroponte's One Laptop per Child devices in Uruguay is that they involve peer-to-peer connection, "so they're always connected, and there is no way to control the children."

The idea is to control the educational environment and make good use of state subsidies for children to learn, and "not to train specialists in Facebook," he added.