UNESCO IITE/ASPnet Workshop "Learning for the Future"


The UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education (IITE) in close cooperation with UNESCO Moscow Office, Latvian National Commission for UNESCO and Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Latvia, supported by Riga City Council, Microsoft Latvia, Publishing House “Lielvārds” and Valmiera City Council, organized a two-days International UNESCO IITE/ASPnet Workshop “Learning for the Future” held on 28-29 March, 2012 in Riga (Republic of Latvia). This Workshop was a sub-regional meeting of UNESCO IITE experts, high-level officials of the National Commissions for UNESCO, regional national ASPnet coordinators, representatives of the UNESCO Associated schools on the launching of the UNESCO IITE Pilot Project “Learning for the Future” (LFF).

The workshop was organized in conformity with resolution of the international conference “ICT”s and Quality of Education: UNESCO ASPnet on the Way towards a School of the Future” (Kazan, Russian Federation, 26-28 April, 2011); decisions, recommendations and resolutions of the 36th Session of the UNESCO General Conference (October/November 2011) and contribute to the following UNESCO activities: biennial sectoral priorities 1, 2; MLA 1, 2, 3, 4. Following the Action Plan 2008-2013 “Priority Gender Equality”, which noted that “Gender Equality between women and men exists when both genders are able to share equally in the distribution of power and knowledge and have equal opportunities, rights and obligations” and UNESCO “strives to address gender inequalities in education, assisting countries in developing gender-sensitive teaching and learning materials that promote the equal participation of women and men in society and at work” the workshop contributed fully and actively to the pursuit of women’s empowerment and gender equality efforts.

The main objectives of the workshop were to discuss a possibility to launch the UNESCO IITE Pilot Project “Learning for the Future”; to summarize and distribute among UNESCO Associated schools an advanced experience of ICTs application at schools; to motivate the UNESCO ASPnet to contribute more effectively to research, collection and dissemination of good practices for expansion of partnership and their sustainable development.

In the framework of the Workshop on 27th March the Meeting at the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Latvia was organized, where a presentation on the Latvian project on mathematics and Sciences using ICTs, as well as the presentation from the Riga City Department of Education were made.

The International UNESCO IITE/ASPnet workshop on “Learning for the Future” brought together 67 participants from 16 countries, including Secretaries-General of the National Commissions for UNESCO, representatives of the National Ministries of Education, ASPnet National Coordinators and teachers, and started its work on 28th March. In the opening ceremony, Mr. Janis Karklins, Assistant Director General UNESCO has sent his video message to the participants. Mrs. Ina Druviette, Chairperson of the Education, Culture and Science Committee of the Parliament of Latvia, Member of the Latvian National Commission for UNESCO, Mrs. Eizenija Aldermane, Chairperson of the Education, Culture and Sports Committee of the Riga City Council made welcome speeches.

The plenary session was chaired by Mr. Dendev Badarch, UNESCO Representative in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, the Republic of Moldova and the Russian Federation, Director of the UNESCO Moscow Office and Director a.i. of UNESCO IITE, who made a presentation on the IITE activities and guidelines and organizational arrangement of the project “Learning for the Future”. Prof. Sang-Hyun Jang, Korea Education and Research Information Service (KERIS), Republic of Korea, made a presentation on Korea SMART school project. Ms. Boseon Kim, Principal researcher, Korea Education and Research Information Service (KERIS), Republic of Korea, made a presentation on Korean National Education Information System. Prof. Alexey Semenov, Rector of the Moscow Institute of the Open Education made a presentation on philosophical background of ICT in education from the historical aspects of pedagogy. Afterwards, Mr. Roberts Kilis, the Minister of Education and Science, Vice-president of the Latvian National Commission for UNESCO made welcome speech.

Three working groups started their discussions in the afternoon. Mr. Dendev Badarch has moderated the Working Group I “Sub-Regional Consultation of the Secretaries-General of the National Commissions for UNESCO”. 12 Representatives of the National Commissions attended this working group. The participants discussed what is the role of National Commissions for promoting interregional projects, what support can be offered and is expected of National Commissions for such pilot projects, what could be the inputs of this project to the C/4, C/5 and post 2015 agenda and inputs to the Riga Call for Action.

Ms. Baiba Molnika, Education Programme Director, Latvian National Commission for UNESCO, and Ms. Larisa Kuzmina, Senior specialist of UNESCO IITE had moderated the Working Group II “Workshop of the UNESCO ASPnet National Coordinators/Representatives of the National Ministries of Education”. 22 participants attended this Group meeting. They discussed the finalization of the LFF project guidelines; selection of schools, teachers and students; selection of project topics; possible twinning; etc. The questionnaires for schools, teachers and students were distributed.

Mr. Alexey Semenov, Academician, Rector of the Moscow Institute of the Open Education; IBED, Russian Federation, and Mr. Aivars Gribusts, Chair of the Publishing House “Lielvards” and Member of the EFA Council in Latvia had moderated the Working Group III “Workshop of the Directors/Teachers”. 20 participants took part in the discussions on the role of schools, teachers and students in the LFF project as well as criteria for selecting participants of the project and made presentations of their schools.

In closing plenary session 3 rapporteurs from 3 working groups made reports: Ms. Kerli Gutman, Secretary-General of the Estonian National Commission for UNESCO; Ms. Ala Kaziuchyts, UNESCO ASPnet National Coordinator, representative of the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Belarus; and Mr. Alexey Semenov, Academician, Rector of the Moscow Institute of the Open Education; IBED, Russian Federation. In the report made by Prof. John Collick, Promethean Senior Education Consultant of the Promethean International, United Kingdom, the importance of the teacher training was stressed. The workshop was resulted by the Riga Call for Action.

On 29th March all participants of the workshop visited Valmiera Elementary School-Promethean Excellence School, newly built the technology-rich. The presentations by Mr.Inesis Boķis, Mayor of Valmiera City Council, Mr. Arturs Skrastins, Valmiera Elementary School Director and Prof. Collick were made after the guided tour to the school classes. Participants also attended the children’s craft market “Made in Latvia” and the Valmiera Business Innovation Incubator.

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