The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 24 January as International Day of Education), in celebration of the role of education for peace and development. This year’s celebrations, which are led by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), aim to showcase the most important transformations that have to be nurtured to realize everyone’s fundamental right to education and build a more sustainable, inclusive and peaceful futures.
The International Day of Education 2022 aims to generate debate around how to strengthen education as a public endeavour and common good and how to steer the digital transformation in order to contribute to collective well-being.
In response to the systemic problems associated with the outdated way of teaching and learning, laid bare by the COVID-19 pandemic, the ISC partnered with Platform for Transformative Technologies (P4TT) and the Foundation for Global Governance and Sustainability (FOGGS), under the leadership of Dr. Veerle Vandeweerd and Dr. Georgios Kostakos to establish the COVID-Education Alliance (COVIDEA) in 2020. COVIDEA seeks to transform education systems worldwide, and make them fit for a rapidly changing, complex, interconnected, and increasingly digital world through using digital tools and related resources. It aims at making the best available digital resources available to policymakers, educators, and learners worldwide.
COVIDEA goes beyond modernizing education systems through using appropriate digital tools. It aspires to rethink education as a major enabler of individual well-being, societal resilience, and planetary sustainability.”Veerle Vandeweerd, COVIDEA co-convener
In this light, it is inspired by the 2030 Agenda agreed by world leaders in 2015. COVIDEA directly addresses the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG): to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. The purpose of education as the COVIDEA group sees it is multi-fold: to build technical knowledge but also to build character, judgement, resilience, social awareness, and active citizenship. Educational curricula, from primary and secondary to tertiary and lifelong education, should be rethought and reorganized along these lines. The experience and voice of active school leaders is of crucial importance for this.
COVIDEA, through its members and friends, brings under one roof a diverse group of experienced educators and technology experts, public and private sector innovators, who collectively have access to the best digital education tools, curricula, and technological options to ensure learners at all levels obtain the skills, competencies, and knowledge needed for happy and productive lives in a sustainable future. COVIDEA published its Primer in October 2020 as a starting point for its work describing the purpose of the initiative in more detail, proposing five key goals for a new, holistic, education system, offering four readily available or emerging digital tools for fit-for purpose education systems, and taking a stand in favor lifelong learning, upskilling and reskilling.
The COVIDEA primer is now operationalized along three lines:
- Developing a Digital Education Agora (DEA)
- Helping national governments to developing Digital Education Roadmaps (DER), and
- Contributing to the Digital with Purpose (DwP) Movement of GESI (The Global Enabling Sustainability Initiative) of the ICT sector.
Thanks to the voluntary contributions of the COVIDEA members, COVIDEA has contributed to raising awareness for the need to change what and how we teach, calling for greater attention to the need to equip all members of the global society with computational skills and social and emotional intelligence, and drawing attention to the crucial role digital technologies can play in instigating this needed change.
For more information on COVIDEA, visit the website www.covidea.education
The COVIDEA initiative is coordinated by the Platform for Transformative Technologies (P4TT) and the Foundation for Global Governance and Sustainability (FOGGS), with the support of the International Science Council (ISC).
Photo by Compare Fibre on Unsplash