International Relations

Pioneer of Child Education

Newcastle University Child Education Pioneer

The acclaimed work of child education pioneer Professor Sugata Mitra has grabbed world headlines, opened up a wealth of new opportunities to disadvantaged children and claimed a $1m prize.

The visionary academic landed the coveted TED Prize for his radical educational learning experiment with youngsters in an Indian slum and has since gone on to build a School in the Cloud, a creative online space where children from across the world gather to answer society’s big questions.

Prof Mitra, based at Newcastle University as a Professor of Educational Technology, began his academic career at the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi (IITD).

Much of his current research builds on the Hole in the Wall experiment, which Sugata instigated in 1999, where children were given free access to a computer embedded within a wall between his office and an Indian slum at Kalkaji, Delhi.

This, and further experiments into children’s learning, have demonstrated that groups of youngsters, irrespective of who or where they are, can learn to use computers and the Internet on their own in a public space - a process which Sugata called Minimally Invasive Education (MIE).

His School in the Cloud research helps bring together Self Organised Learning Environments (SOLEs), where children take the educational lead.

As Prof Mitra puts it: “If you allow the educational process to self organise, then learning emerges. It is not about making learning happen, it is about letting learning happen.”