Even in countries like the U.S., education is far from perfect, and politicians, parents, educators, and entrepreneurs continue to search for ways improve it.
Not surprisingly, Facebook Chief Operation Officer Sheryl Sandberg says that technology could play a very significant role, especially in addressing the socioeconomic gaps created by inadequate education.
“Technology can help us do something that’s very important in education, which is measure progress,” Sandberg said in an interview on stage at Fortune‘s Global Forum in San Francisco on Tuesday.
Education has long been viewed as a critical factor in financial and social success. But the U.S. still struggles to provide quality education to all.
“We definitely have an inequality of opportunity in our country,” Sandberg added.
Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has also shown a strong interest in improving education. Zuckerberg and his wife have donated $100 million to the Newark, N.J. school district and another $120 million to low-income Bay Area schools.
Facebook also recently revealed it has been working on free software for schools. Zuckerberg and his wife also recently said they were planning to open a free private school in East Palo Alto, Calif, near Facebook’s headquarters.
Beyond education, Sandberg also said that technology can affect and improve people’s lives in a myriad of ways. She pointed to how the average U.S. Facebook user spends $1 daily on average for Internet access.
Last year, Facebook unveiled Internet.org, an initiative to connect people in the developing world online including a mobile app that can be used for free in certain countries. The app includes access to dozens of websites and services, which the company believes can improve people’s lives by giving them access to information they wouldn’t otherwise have.
Initially, critics in India attacked Facebook over the apps, which they said violated net neutrality principles because it gives users access to a limited number of websites. Facebook responded by opening up the platform to all developers who want to participate.