Education was necessary to create fulfilled individuals, said experts in perfect unison at the 5th World Innovation Summit for Education. Gauri Rane reports from Doha.
“The more education thrives, the more prosperous life becomes; the more it languishes, the more life fades,” said Her Highness Shaikha Moza Bint Naseer in her inaugural address at the 5th World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) 2013, held in Doha last week.
The bond between education and life, which was the theme of the conference, was truly inspiring, said the Shaikha, who is the chairperson of WISE. Established five years ago under the aegis of the Qatar Foundation, WISE is a platform to innovatively influence education across the world.
Education should be made available to all, whenever and wherever there was a need for it, the Shaikha said. “Learning and teaching should be engaging and stimulating.”
Experts present at the conference unanimously stated that education was needed to create fulfilled individuals. Edgar Morin, philosopher and sociologist, expressed the need for quality education. “Education must be a tool for life. Going beyond the curriculum it should teach the fundamentals of life.”
Androulla Vassiliou, European commissioner for education, culture, multi lingualism and youth, spoke about how educationists could bring life to learning. “We need investment in education. Governments need to invest in partnerships and regular interaction with stakeholders,” she said. Partnerships between educational and business institutions, which give an opportunity to all stakeholders to experience the outside world, will enhance the effect of educational innovations.”
Yasar Jarrar, partner, Bain and Company advised faculty to not be afraid of online modules and MOOCs. “These are things that will replace the textbooks and not the teacher, all the other tools are simply going to reform the mode of teaching but not the leadership role of a teacher,” he said.
Vicki Phillips, director of education, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation said, “We need to make learning a personalised process for both students and teachers. Teachers play a strong role in the learning process and there should be more technology enabled solutions available for teachers to deliver lessons.”
“Are teachers getting children ready for life or are they teaching them to get into college,” Madhav Chavan, founder, Pratham, demanded to know. Educationists and education innovators he said, should rethink about `school` as a learning mechanism and offer other mechanisms that could be put to use. “Its time that learning process changes completely.”
In her concluding remark, Shaikha Moza said break down of education was the breakdown of society and of the state. “Since Education is a treasure trove of solutions, we must make all our effort to bring innovation in education.”
Are radical changes to mass education systems necessary to the meet modern education needs?
•No. Incremental change is enough. While imperfect, mass education systems are efficient and, when they have enough resources, can be effective.
•Yes. Mass education systems are obsolete and we need to rethink why, when and how young students learn.