Bill Gates: Education Needs More than 1 Percent of R&D Spending

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Investments in education technology are beginning to rival the boom in the late 1990s, causing some to wonder if another bubble is brewing.

But, speaking to a packed auditorium of educators and technologists at the SXSWedu education technology conference in Austin, Bill Gates said that given the impact of education on all other parts of society, investment in the sector is “absolutely not” enough.

“If you had to say what is the sector of the economy you’d like the most R&D, the most risk-taking in, because any improvement you make benefits all the other areas of the economy and, more from an equity point of view, allows the country to deliver on its promise of equal opportunity, you’d think that education would be a very high R&D sector. It never has been,” according to the co-founder of Microsoft and head of the multi-billion-dollar Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. “We’re going to have to grow this.”

Advancements in computing, the growing penetration of technology (particularly mobile devices) and the rise of cloud storage have helped make this a “special time for technology in education,” Gates said.

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