Futures of Education webinar engages with Spanish-speaking audience on challenges and opportunities in light of Covid-19
The impact and consequences produced by the global health pandemic has highlighted the ever-stronger need for rethinking the probable, possible and alternative futures humanity might face, including the futures of education. For this reason, in collaboration with UNESCO’s Regional Office for Education in Latin America and the Caribbean and Fundación Santillana, a webinar was organized in Spanish on 30 April to discuss the Futures of Education initiative in light of the current global crisis.
The 90-minute webinar was moderated by Claudia Uribe, Director of the UNESCO Santiago office, with participation from three members of the International Commission on the Futures of Education: Elisa Guerra, Founder of the Colegio Valle de Filadelfia in Mexico; Tarcila Rivera, Executive Director of the Center for Indigenous Cultures in Peru; and H.E. Antonio Nóvoa, current ambassador of Portugal to UNESCO.
The webinar took up questions related to the importance and relevance of formal education taking place in the traditional school environment, the participation and changing involvement of parents and communities during the health pandemic, the future of distance learning and its role in transforming education and battling against mounting inequalities in educational opportunities.
Given the growing importance of technology in education, especially during school closures, the panelists recalled the imperative and irreplaceable role teachers play and will play in the future. Elisa Guerra explained: ‘’pedagogy comes first, technology is only second. A good teacher can amplify his/her pedagogy with the use of technology, but this cannot replace teachers.’’ On a similar note, H.E. António Nóvoa emphasized that technology is a good tool but one that needs to be aligned to the purposes and goals of education. He also recalled the importance of public education amidst the exponential rise of non-state actors in the education landscape trying to mitigate the impact of school closures around the world affecting 1,2 billion children. Education cannot and should not be converted into a consumer item, disregarding its functions as a global common good serving a common humanity. Tarcila Rivera further echoed the importance of a humanistic view of education, keeping in mind the purposes of education to prepare the new generation for societal participation which can only be achieved by taking a holistic, non-segmented approach to education as well as to the economy, politics and science, among other areas.
The session was attended by more than 800 participants and closed by addressing some questions from the audience that were selected by Carlos Vargas, Chief of the Teacher Development Unit at UNESCO Santiago. One particularly evocative remark from a participant was that ‘’the future is not what is going to happen, it is what we will make of it; what we will become’’ – a statement that emphasizes the opportunity humanity has to shape its future.
Learn more about how to get involved in the initiative and become part of this global conversation on the futures of education.