System-wide innovations to improve education quality can only take root through broad collaboration across private, public and non-governmental actors, participants affirmed at the World Education Forum in London on 9-10 January.
Addressing the Forum, which gathered some 60 education ministers, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova stressed the importance of “fit to size solutions. Progress is more than a question of money – it is all about matching… matching capacity with needs, matching skills and knowledge to the requirements of markets. ”
During the Forum, she presented the ICT Competency Framework for Teachers, describing it as “an excellent example of how an intergovernmental organizations and private partners can cooperate to deliver concrete results. ” She noted that “public-private partnership is a new form of ‘civilian power’ that will help shape the new spirit of learning in the 21st century.”
Speaking at the opening reception of the Forum, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs William Hague commended the ICT Competency Framework.“Unless we continue to have a global outlook in our education system and constantly refresh our thinking from examples of success around the world, we put that cutting-edge status at risk. (…) UNESCO’s Information and Communication Technology Competency Framework for Teachers demonstrates this forward thinking approach to education.”
The Deputy Secretary-General Commonwealth Secretariat Ransford Smith reiterated that “innovative ideas adapted to vastly diverse circumstances call for sharing and collaboration. ” The ICT Competency Framework, he said, offered a comprehensive and integrated approach, adding that it is expected to have a “long term impact on teachers in Guyana,” where UNESCO has been a partner in the ICT professional development of teachers.
Intel’s Vice President John Davies gave examples of system-wide innovations in Turkey, Argentina and Viet Nam that have led to teacher training in ICTs, improved learning outcomes and increased connectivity through broad partnerships involving governments and private industries.
On the sidelines of the Forum, the Director-General met with a number of partners, including Intel, Microsoft, Pearson, HP, Lego Education, Promethean and GEMS Education to discuss the establishment of a Global Alliance of Corporate Partners for Education. “Unless we show a global mobilization involving private sector, governments and NGOs, we will not be able to seriously put education on the global agenda.”
The Education World Forum is hosted by the British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA), with support from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Department for Education, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and several industry partners.