A learning crisis affects many developing countries in Asia. Millions of children attend school but are not learning enough.

They cannot read, write, or do mathematics at their grade level, and yet they pass to the next grade, learning even less because they have not grasped the previous material.

The magnitude of the crisis is staggering: in low- and middle-income countries more than half of children are not learning to read by age 10.

At the same time, there is an emerging revolution in learning brought on by digital technologies. These are collectively referred to as educational technology.

The coincident emergence of a problem in education and a new approach to learning naturally makes us ask how one may be a solution for the other.

Edtech may be one part of the solution – but it should be a means not an end.

Our guiding principle should be to first diagnose what is going wrong in a system and then identify which solutions are best suited to solve those problems. Some causes of the learning crisis are well understood.

A version of this article appears in the print on July 26 2021, of The Himalayan Times.