The Transforming Education for the Future in Asia session focused on the desire to learn outside of the classroom and the importance of developing shared values. To successfully guide students in developing these characteristics, the speakers discussed the importance of the ability to invest in students, reimagine education, and personalize teaching. These three traits keep the student, or the learner, at the center, becoming a more robust model in Southeast Asia. Dr. Chao introduced the Southeast Asia Teachers Competency Framework and emphasized the importance of high creativity, empathy, and learning.
Learning vs. Education
A key theme of this session was the difference between learning and education. While education commonly takes place in a school, the speakers agreed that contemporary learning is no longer confined to the classroom, especially after the pandemic. Dr. Chao summarized this new mindset, "Schools are no longer a place, but it is a thing where learning happens anywhere, in the home or the community, that is school." On a broader scale, this demonstrates one of the challenges in increasing children's access to learning around the world. In 2018, the World Bank published a report on the learning crisis, the disparity between increased global access to education, and the absence of learning.
The speakers also discussed the importance of developing competencies that will set them up for success outside of the classroom. While schools act as community learning hubs, the panelists discussed the need for continual learning outside of schools and formal education. The goal is for students to develop the ability to manage and direct their learning to think with a scientific mind. Through this approach, technology has a higher role in students' development. As schools have moved towards hybrid structures due to the pandemic, technology allows students to learn at their own pace. It also demonstrated that classrooms and chairs are not as important for education as the child's desire to develop and engage.
Development of Values
In addition to promoting active learning over transactional education, the development of values is a crucial element in a child's growth. Umali shared that core values are included in the Filipino constitution. They are also taking a central role in education through Maka-Diyos (love for God), Maka-tao (love for humanity), Makakalikasan (love for nature), and Makabansa (love for country). These elements encourage collaboration between the government, communities, schools, and families as values are central. It also emphasizes that education and the development of values is a collective responsibility, and it builds on the previous theme that effective learning transcends the classroom. The renewed focus builds off the Values Education Program instituted in 1988 and continues the legacy of values education in the Philippines.
Mr. Panth's remarks revolved around Sustainable Development Goal 4.7.1 and its focus on global citizenship education. He emphasized that core values enable humans to live in harmony. Mr. Panth further built on the central position of core values and noted that education and intelligence should not be seen as transactional or linear. In the context of the pandemic, there is a greater importance on health, critical thinking, and support. Through intentional education, students can see that people are fundamentally the same and have more in common than the barriers that separate us.
While schools are one of the most stable structures, they are being redefined to meet the challenges of the 21st century. The speakers agreed that schools are essential for children to develop their core values, character, and competencies to succeed. More can be done, such as promoting values education to have the same weight as core subjects, but formal education is already taking significant steps in further developing shared values. Through these transformations, education will prepare students to address core issues like food security, poverty reduction, and other social challenges.
Moderator: Tony Devine, Vice President for Education, Global Peace Foundation
- Tonisito M.C. Umali, Esq., Undersecretary of Legislative Affairs, External Partnerships, and Project Management Service, Philippines Department of Education
- Brajesh Panth, Chief of Education Sector Group, Asian Development Bank
- Dr. Sharon Chao, Learning Development and Management Office, SEAMEO-INNOTECH