Intel gets political in opening IDF keynote

Intel gets political in opening IDF keynote

Intel Chairman Craig Barrett used this morning's opening keynote to deliver some strong political messages to the western world.

With Intel CEO Paul Otellini away on holiday, the opening keynote was left to Craig Barrett, former CEO of Intel and current chairman of the board. He opened proceedings at IDF in San Francisco this morning with a keynote that was light on content, but full of strong political messages.

Barrett made it clear that he wasn’t going to discuss products from the outset and instead discussed some key problems that innovative technology has helped to solve. Before he got to that though, he had several, more important things that he wanted to get off his chest.

Along with serving as chairman of the board of directors at Intel, Barrett is also chairman of the United Nations Global Alliance for Information and Communication Technologies and Development – a job that essentially makes him a global ambassador for the technology industry.

As part of his duties with the UN, Barrett travels to around 30 countries each year, overseeing the implementation of technology in the developing world. And with that in mind, Barrett couldn’t resist using this stage as an opportunity to say some strong words about the US government’s education policy.

On his travels, he has grown to realise that education is incredibly important in these cultures and he believes that it’s a reason why nations like China, India and even some nations in Africa and the Middle East are growing at such an exponential rate. He believes that these countries are investing heavily in education and also in research and development—or, as he put it, their future—while developed countries like the United States aren’t.

In many respects, the same is true in the UK as well, where the state school system just isn’t as good as it should be – even though our students are continually posting record pass rates in GCSE and A-level exams. The problem, Barrett believes, is that developed countries are using technology to great effect, but they’re forgetting that the most important thing in any classroom is the quality of the teacher. He rightly pointed out that everything else should be secondary to that.

Barrett finished by saying that “Nations are only as strong as their education system” and in the long run, I guess that is true. With developing nations growing at such a rate, you have to wonder how long it’ll be before they’re even bigger players in the technology sector – perhaps there’s something the developed world can learn from those still developing? Share your thoughts with us in the forums.


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Firehed 19th August 2008, 19:08 Quote
Not sure I agree with him making a political thing out of an unrelated keynote, but I'd say he's spot on in the assessment that nations are only as strong as their education system (at least in some vague terms... more along the lines that poor education will become a limiting factor in time, but it's certainly not the only one)
C-Sniper 19th August 2008, 20:02 Quote
I definitely agree about the education. Our development team where i work is made up of 90% Chinese developers and boy do they know their stuff.
Jojii 19th August 2008, 21:28 Quote
He's got that secret service widget in his ear

chrrk- "Somebody is laughing during my speach, make sure he has a broken knee cap" -chrrk
Hugo 19th August 2008, 21:34 Quote
Originally Posted by Tim S
I guess that is true.
Word, Tim! Even if we know a fair few exceptions to that rule in amoung our close peers. :D
Tyrmot 20th August 2008, 12:37 Quote
The problem of course is that you don't notice the effects of a poor education system until 20-30 years down the line, way out of any politician's future planning timescale (read: till the next election) and by the time you have realised it's probably too late as you're now living in a country full of morons.
D B 20th August 2008, 15:22 Quote
The most important thing is knowledge. That means money for Teaching and Teachers .. money for R&D (without the "what can it do for my profits in 6 months/1 year" limitations)
... those that sit back on their Laural's are destined to be the the new 2nd, 3rd, or lower classed countries
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