Thursday, March 28, 2013
Decreasing Poverty through Business Education: Ivey Business School’s Africa Initiative
By BEIF Team
It has often been argued that education is a way to reduce economic inequalities, as higher education provides people with jobs that pay better, besides helping people to innovate and set up businesses. However, lack of access to education to the poor (given the high costs of tuition) has always been an issue even in the developed world.
In this context, Ivey Business School at Western University has set up 39 Country Initiative, which aims to reduce poverty by making education accessible. This initiative provides Ivey cases free of cost to faculty from 39 countries (of which 32 are in Africa), whose GDP is less than $2000/year. Further, Ivey is sending its HBA students and faculty to engage in co-teaching cases in Africa to develop expertise of the business educators. In addition, Ivey plans to publish casebooks and textbooks at low-cost and offer them to students in poor countries. This multi-pronged strategy is described in this document.
Despite some evidence that education increases inequality by giving better returns to the rich than the poor (which we highlighted in an earlier BEIF blog post), education is among the best tools we have to address inequality. So, is Ivey’s 39 country initiative a model for other business schools around the world to follow?