Education as we know it is not currently equitable. This is due to many different factors, but one of the most important and persistent is a lack of access to the internet and information in certain parts of the world.
All that can change as the global community gradually shifts from Web2 to Web3. It’s what we’re already starting to do here with our internships and virtual training programs at Ediphi.
The terms “equity” and “web3” as they relate to education may sound incompatible and disconnected. In reality they support each other. Taking advantage of the unique qualities of web3 can allow students from all over the world to get closer to achieving eduequity.
What Is Equity In Education?
According to the Oxford Dictionary, the definition of “equity” is, “the quality of being fair and impartial.” While this word may sound similar to “equality,” they mean two completely different things.
To be equal is to have the same “status, rights, and opportunities” as everyone else. But having the same of everything doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone gets fair treatment.
To illustrate the difference between equity and equality in education, let’s say there are two post-secondary students in their senior year who want to become sous chefs in 5-star hotels. One of them lives in Paris, France and the other in the Philippines.
The student living in Paris is attending one of the best culinary schools in the world, Le Cordon Bleu. She can afford to do so because her family is wealthy. But the student living in the Philippines comes from a poor family and can’t afford the tuition costs or the travel fare to attend the same school.
Despite Le Cordon Bleu being open to both students, and both students being capable, only one can attend due to her unique financial circumstances and physical location.
How can we make this situation equitable? One solution is for Le Cordon Bleu to offer extended reality (XR) virtual classes to the student in the Philippines. The XR component will allow him to interact virtually with their instructors and participate in the same classes as the student who is actually there in person. They can also offer him a scholarship based on his merit and his culinary skills rather than his financial ability.
This is how we create both equality and equity. We give each student access to the same resources, but with the understanding that not everyone can access them in the same way due to their background, location, finances, or personal health.
What Is Web3?
Web3 is the third iteration of the internet. It’s more of a concept right now, but it’s slowly being enabled by more and more creators.
Right now, the majority of us are using Web2. Web2 allows users to interact with websites and access data, but only by getting permission from third parties. In getting permission, they give over their data to these third parties, who sell it to advertisers. In this way, nothing on the internet is private, and nothing is truly free.
Web3 is based on the principle of self custody and self sovereignty. This means we have control over our own information. The blockchain is a ledger of digital transactions recorded multiples times making it difficult to cheat or hack the system. This makes the environment a safe learning environment for learners of all ages.
How Does Web3 Spread Equity Through Education?
When everything on the internet is completely accessible to everyone, as it will be on Web3, students will have the opportunity to gain valuable, career advancing experience in ways that were previously impossible.
For example, they can access virtual and XR-enabled courses taught by industry professionals, regardless of their socioeconomic status and global location.
This is how Web3 spreads equity through education. It gives students who normally wouldn’t have the ability or means to use the same resources as their more privileged peers access to the same valuable, life-changing courses and training.