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A new ad campaign from IBM shows a young Chinese girl asking to join a virtual classroom because her village is too far from the nearest school.” Thanks to IBM she can take her seat next to American kids in a Matrix inspired classroom. What the ad doesn’t show you, however, is that the virtual teacher for these American kids is in India:

American schools desperate to improve their students’ math grades are hiring Indian companies who provide tutors at a fraction of the cost of American tutors. These tutors sit in New Delhi, Mumbai or Bangalore helping youngsters with their math homework or going over already-learnt concepts so that they do not lose ground during the holidays.

The advertising firm hired by IBM may be assuming that most Americans are like Defense Secretary Rumsfeld and think that China isn’t yet part of the civilized world,” but the reality is that it is the American kids who need virtual teachers to catch up with the rest of the world.

(Thanks to Scott Sommers for alerting me to the Taipei Times story.)

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