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Education is everything. But never has it been clearer that ways of learning are not static – and nor are they equitable. The shift to remote study was, for many, a huge success, but it also highlighted that there is much work to be done in providing the right tools, resources and experiences for all. And we have entered a time where learning is for educators and those they educate alike.
A truly global forum recently took place at Expo 2020 Dubai to discuss how to rethink education in the context of a changing world. Moderated by columnist and researcher, Sultan Sooud Al-Qassemi, the panel brought a wide range of viewpoints from government, education, charities and business.
Bespoke education for better results
Our world is changing rapidly yet the ways we educate, inspire and equip our children remains largely a legacy of the first industrial revolution. To counter this, the state of Bahrain has implemented a ‘Tertiary Action Plan’, “We need to play to the strengths of teachers in order for them to be able to do their jobs at best,” explains HE Aymen Tawfeeq Almoayed. “Some teachers are good at remote teaching whereas some perform better in a classroom set-up, hence we need to identify the strong points of those leading the students and play it to our best advantage in coaching the generation of tomorrow.” For Sir Anthony Seldon, this must be balanced with “four key characteristics”, which begin with ‘Active Education’, which he explains, is “where students are actively involved by various ways of engagement rather than having a passive or inert system that does not place importance on a student’s level of engagement or contribution in the learning space.” Active Learning is supported by ‘Holistic Learning’, which “places emphasis on the matters of head but also the heart”, as well as inclusivity and the life-long continuation of learning.
Learning as a path to teaching
Wendy Kopp is passionate about working to meet the educational demands of the future by encouraging careers in teaching now. “Our education system at the moment still remains primitive whereas everything else – right from the challenges we face today to the solutions that are needed – has changed drastically,” she explains. “This is the main reason why, at Teach For All, we motivate talented creative people to opt for education as a professional path, as that’s where we can make the difference at a grass-root level – by creating an equitable structure where students can learn to navigate the uncertainties of tomorrow.”
Not just STEM – STEAM
Adam Pensotti is also frustrated by the lack of innovation in education – particularly when it comes to weaving creativity into the curriculum. “What I learned in the school was pretty like what my father learned in his days and unfortunately my children today are learning the same,” he laments. “People often talk about STEM which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics but today we need to make it STEAM to include that A for Arts. We must empower the children to use their creativity, especially in today’s context of developing a sustainable world for all.” When students take part in the Canon Young People Programme, they are taught a balance of vocational skills, in learning how to use complex tools, but also important design theory and the fundamentals of sustainability through the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Together, Adam shares, “we have been able to not only create a meaningful difference in the life of these young people but also kindled hope for a better future.”
Watch the full session ‘Rethinking Education for a Changing World’ at the Virtual Expo Dubai hub