Schools were some of the first institutions to close their doors when the global pandemic sent many countries across the world into lockdown.
Global Peace Foundation chapters responded swiftly, moving online to address the dramatically shifting educational landscape. In April 2020, chapters in Kenya, Uganda, Paraguay, and the Philippines commenced a series of forums to address challenges facing teachers and administrators as well as provide support for students.
The forums shifted the conversation from the looming fear of a “lost year” and a never-ending list of challenges to seeing the pandemic as an opportunity, an accelerated process for transforming education. Teachers, students, administrators, and ministries have been encouraged to look beyond the pandemic and to envision the future of education, rather than be overwhelmed by the present circumstances.
The forums developed into the Transforming Education Webinar Series, designed to address country-specific needs and challenges. The forums involve stakeholders from all sectors of each nation: ministries of education, administrators, educators, students, parents, international agencies, and private sector participants like Oracle and Microsoft.
Global Peace Foundation has developed a platform for discovery and real-time problem solving of hard problems like remote instruction, access to technology, continuing education, and teacher and student mental and emotional health. The process of moving away from traditional brick and mortar learning has required intense collaboration for all members of the community: schools, parents, businesses, students, and other organizations.
School principals expressed that they became more rounded leaders by participating in the webinar series. They were able to relearn and be inspired again to become designers of learning, engaging students in authentic ways that consider the new reality of learning.
Communities are finding possibility and renewed hope through the series.
Understanding that even parents had to navigate how to function in a “new normal” as both workers and teachers when kids were stuck at home, the webinar was included counselors and psychologists to help the community understand the unique dynamics. Schools had to reboot themselves in a new way.
As an example, the Republic of the Philippines has adjusted to provide instruction on public television, send out learning packets to students in remote parts of the nation, and develop ongoing capacity building for instructors.
The future of the pandemic is still uncertain, yet, the conversation that has begun in 2020 through the Transforming Education Series, has opened the door for new innovation, and a forward-looking perspective on where education is going from here.
In 2021, the Transforming Education Webinar Series will continue to explore the future of education in a pandemic and post-pandemic world with the addition of online capacity-building workshops, and courses on online safety, character & creativity, youth resiliency, teacher competencies, leadership development, and regional summits.