In his opening remarks at the Transforming Education Summit, the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General, António Guterres, reiterated the importance of elevating education to the top of the global political agenda and the need to transform education. Among the keys intended by the UN to respond to this global crisis: lifelong learning, inclusion, digital technology as a tool for democratization and teaching transformation. Solutions that the Learning Planet Institute has been experimenting with for several years in its projects.
The Transforming Education Summit is a key initiative of Our Common Agenda launched by the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, in September 2021. The Summit took place from 16th to 19th September 2022 during the 77th session of the UN General Assembly and was convened to mobilize action, ambition, solidarity and solutions to recover pandemic-related learning losses and sow the seeds to transform education in a rapidly changing world.
As a leading player of the learning society, the Learning Planet Institute was represented by François Taddei, Chief Exploration Officer, and Gaëll Mainguy, Executive Vice-President, who attended the Summit in New York City last week. This event has provided them input for transforming education but it has also reinforced the positioning of our Institute: since our creation, our projects show that young people, life-long learning and collective intelligence are our most powerful assets for systems change.
António Guterres “Education transforms lives, economies and societies. But we also know we must transform education.”
As an example of the transformation of higher education institutions, we can mention the Institut des Défis (“Challenge Institute”) that we cofounded 2 years ago with Université Paris Cité and whose mission is to transform the academic world by disseminating the methods and issues of collective intelligence, sustainable development and inclusion, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the UN.
António Guterres “Teachers are the lifeblood of education systems. We need a new focus on their roles and skillsets. Today’s teachers need to be facilitators in the classroom, promoting learning rather than merely transmitting answers.”
This quote resonates with the work of the Profs-Chercheurs research team, which supports communities of education professionals in exploring solutions to educational challenges they face thanks to an open collaborative research approach.
António Guterres “It (education) must help people learn how to learn, with a focus on problem-solving and collaboration. It must provide the foundations for learning, from reading, writing and mathematics to scientific, digital, social and emotional skills.”
Within our academic programs – FdV Licence, AIRE Master and FIRE Doctoral School (Université Paris Cité, PSL), as well as during the SDG SummerSchool, special emphasis is placed on open-science approaches, collaborative interdisciplinary projects, research and a challenge-based approach to learning. Through these methods, students also develop cross-disciplinary skills that allow them to adapt to the rapidly changing world.
António Guterres “It (education) must be accessible to all from the earliest stages and throughout their lives. And it must help us learn to live and work together, and to understand ourselves and our responsibilities to each other and to our planet.”
In 2020, UNESCO and the Learning Planet Institute joined forces to launch the #LearningPlanet Festival, a unique, world-wide celebration of education that welcomes passionate learners of all ages – youth, teachers, artists, activists, scientists, social entrepreneurs, policymakers and more. Since then, the Festival explores each year actions from local and global game changers, insights on new learning practices in progress, digital education narratives and spaces, the influence of art and culture on learning and how to take better care of ourselves, others, and our planet.
António Guterres “We must protect the right to quality education for everyone, especially girls. Everywhere. Schools must be open to all, without discrimination.”
Our Institute welcomes diversity by celebrating the richness of our multicultural and inclusive community. Projects such as For Girls in Science aims to inspire high school girls to take up scientific careers by breaking down preconceived ideas about women and STEM (Science Technology, Engineering & Mathematics).
António Guterres “The digital revolution must benefit all learners. I urge countries to improve connectivity for students and educational institutions. Our own Giga initiative aims to get all schools online.”
Digital teaching and online learning resources can contribute to the transformation and democratization of education. At the Learning Planet Institute, we are building a digital ecosystem supporting learners to help them to self assess their current skills with peers, find mentors and co-learners or share resources. WeLearn, our GPS of knowledge, enables learners to search, cross-reference, and pool crucial learning resources as well as meet other users who share their same interests by harnessing the collaborative and artificial intelligence we’ve provided.
From grassroots players and innovators to universities, cities, and multilateral organizations, we all have a role to play to transform education. Learning how to learn and cooperate is a more precious endeavor than ever with no less than the future of our democracies, economies, and the sciences hanging in the balance. Through its projects, the Learning Planet Institute is on its way to face the global crisis in education. What if we move further forward to create a more sustainable, inclusive, just and peaceful world for all?