Three weeks into lockdown…

Three weeks into lockdown and contrary to what you’re expecting me to say, isn’t it whizzing by?! I thought I’d have more free time! This is what’s occupied much of my time this week:

Senator Esteban Bullrich and I continue to bring friends together from across the world to delve into different aspects of the closure of schools. Next week on Tuesday, 14th April at 12pm UK time, we’re bringing together a larger group to learn, share and interact with some prolific teachers to listen to them and help solve for the issues they identify as impediments to do their jobs. 

We’ve had one prep session and I’m stunned with what I heard! Hear from yourself next Tuesday.

If you wish to join us, please join this dedicated LinkedIn group: Education & Our World, where details of the call are posted. 

I’m really delighted that these calls are proving to be useful. In the past two weeks, we’ve had presentations / launches of these reports:

  • Andreas Schleicher contributed insights from PISA 2018 on how well students and schools were prepared for school closures.
  • Fernando Reimers & Andreas Scheicher created a framework to guide an education response to the Covid-19 pandemic. 
  • Armand Doucet co-authored a guidance note for UNESCO and EI on how teachers need to think about pedagogy as schools move online as a result of this pandemic.

On our next call, David Edwards, General Secretary of Education International –  the global federation of teacher unions will preview the findings of their global survey for the first time.

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GREAT SHARES ON OUR LINKEDIN GROUP

  • Richard King of the Education Development Trust wrote about the implications for policymakers. Read here.
  • Lucia Dellagnelo shared the results of a huge survey in Brazil of 3,000 school districts where they summarise different models of remote learning that are being implemented by school districts and includes live and recorded classes to be broadcasted from local TV, from YouTube or other online platforms. 
  • Alex Crossman who is a UK School Principal wrote about what they learnt from going into lockdown. Read here.
  • Marwa Soudi, a STEM expert from Egypt shared this post on why before new ideas to implement in schools are shared, we consider the wellbeing of teachers.
  • Professor Reimers published a new book , which is available for free online. In it he explains how to reform education systems so they educate all students as global citizens, with the necessary competencies to achieve the UN SDGs. Today, more necessary than ever!.

You can join the LinkedIn group, which in one week has gone from 0 to 500 members! 

I SPOKE TO NIGERIAN TEACHERS & INNOVATORS

In so many ways, the world will miss achieving SDG4 on quality education if Nigeria fails to do more. To understand the local context, I visited Lagos in February as part of my responsibilities on the Africa Advisory Board for Teach for All and I was blown away with the work that Teach for Nigeria is doing. 

For this reason, I was really bowled over when they asked me to be their first guest for a speaker series that includes all their Fellows, Alumni and supporters. My main points were informed by the information that’s been shared on how education systems are reacting to Covid-19, how others are solving for the inequities we see, and the role of teachers in these uncertain times.

These issues stood out from the call and my subsequent interactions with some of the Fellows:

Teachers as first responders should have been integrated into interventions early. 

In some cases, given the dysfunctionality of state run school systems, everyone was left high and dry. The question we kept on returning to was how these teachers convince decision makers to understand and act on the reality school closures could be in place for an extensive period and alternate provision needs to be made.

One of the Fellows (Gideon Ogunfeyemi) shared on Twitter his idea to use religious venues like churches and mosques for dissemination of learning as these buildings often have loudspeakers attached to their external walls so that prayers can be heard by all in a village. Why not also use the same for mathematics? 

At the risk of being overly self promotional, it was also great to receive feedback from those on the call:

HOW DO WE GET EDUCATION FUNDING INCREASED AFTER COVID19?

I also serve on the Global Education Council of BETT, the education conference. The Council convened on Microsoft Teams this time, and in our discussions spoke about several issues and perspectives and I expressed my concern that with the looming post Covid-19 global recession, how do we protect education budgets? 

Such challenging times always reinforce, at least for me, the need to deepen investments in education. I saw some social media announcements from institutions like the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), which funds sector plans in the most fragile countries, and whilst I’m thankful for the $250 million facility which spans 67 countries, we need much much more to be committed and the question is how we impress upon donor countries to increase their funding for facilities like GPE or Education Cannot Wait, which itself announced the immediate release of $23 million for conflict ridden countries for education provision.

The pivot we need to make after schools return, with the longer term in mind, will require political leaders who commit further to education and building the knowledge society that has so often been spoken about. 

How do we make the case? What do we need to do?

MUSIC SHARE

I am addicted to Radiooooo which allows you to listen to radio stations from around the world, and even select the decade which you want to hear music from. Great cultural asset, I think. Try it out.

PHOTO OF THE WEEK

At a risk of making you think I’m obsessed with Magnolia trees, I promise this is the last pic (until next year)…

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