The fifth annual Global Education and Skills Forum (GESF) 2017 held in Dubai on March 18 and 19 addressed the question of how to create ‘real’ global citizens. The forum is a Varkey Foundation initiative where leading figures from public, private and social sectors around the world convene to discuss the future of education.
A number of discussions centered around educational advancements in the digital age and how technology in global education could affect students.
In his speech on March 18, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) education and skills director, Andreas Schleicher, emphasized the need for new and creative ways to prepare future generations to become global citizens.
“The more diverse our children’s interests and experiences, the more they are encouraged to work with their peers to address problems in new ways, the better prepared they will be for the new digital age,” he explained.
Schleicher listed the most pertinent areas for growth as student inclusion, curriculum, teacher quality, school organization and accountability.
“We are very good at ranking human talent but not very good at developing it,” he said. “We need to focus on all students, all the time and move away from constantly testing to find the best. We should be developing everyone, not looking for those already doing well.”
Schleicher went on to say that while today’s digital age can be prosperous for those who know how to capitalize on it, those without the right education are more susceptible to vulnerable working situations.
Speaking at the GESF to Xinhua in an exclusive interview, Ms. Yang Boya, a former fellow at Harvard SEED for Social Innovation, headed multiple master classes at the forum.
She asserted that the spread of computer devices among children globally bears both positive and negative consequences. While promotion of technology in global education allows students to recognize technological progress, Yang emphasized the need for human interactions within the classroom.
“An IT device can never replace the human teacher, but support his work,” she declared in an interview with Xinhua.
GESF concluded with what is regarded as the Nobel Prize for teaching, the third annual Global Teacher Prize 2017. Maggie MacDonnell, an educator residing and teaching in Salluit, an Inuit village deep in the Canadian Arctic, was awarded the title and one million dollars.
– Casie Wilson