The World Bank is investing heavily in on-line education company Coursera. The US based corporation, which started up as a supplier of so-called MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) in higher education, is now pioneering moves into school education in the US.

The company only started up in business a year ago but it has already received a multi-million pound investment from The World Bank. According to the website, Techcrunch: “With its new capital in tow, Coursera will begin making a significant push to expand its education platform abroad.”MOOCs are seen by megacorporations like News Corp as a major new way of generating profit. Rupert Murdoch, the boss of News Corp, is quoted as saying that education is a market worth of hundreds of billions of dollars.

News Corp's online education arm, Amplify, recently launched a tablet computer for teachers and schools. According to Joel Klein, who runs the outfit, "It is our aim to amplify the power of digital innovation to transform teaching and learning and to help schools deliver fundamentally better experiences and results.” Joel Klein, who was the pro-charter boss of New York's schools before he went to work for Rupert Murdoch, has just completed the sale of 21,000 tablets to schools in Guilford County, Carolina, which is facing huge budget cuts and the loss of 200 classroom assistants.

Needless to say, such innovation is reserved for low income public schools, while the children of those advocating such 'amplification' send their own children to schools where they have small classes and plenty of time with a teacher rather than a screen.

The investment by the World Bank into this market is yet another sign of the way in which it downplays the importance of trained and well paid teachers. The recent strike in Kenya by teachers fighting for a living wage and the employment of thousands of new teachers is played out against the background of a Bill Gates sponsored plan to provide laptops for every child in Kenya.