Lensky Education Forum “Open School: Man – Institute of Education”

The Lensky Education Forum “Open School: Man – Institute of Education” took place on 16-18 August 2016 in Yakutsk, Russian Federation, under the aegis of UNESCO.The aim of the Forum was to discuss the innovative processes in education, define perspectives for the development of the education system in the emerging global knowledge society, and expand inter-regional and international cooperation. Notably, the main themes of the Lensky Education Forum are directly linked to the UNESCO’s vision and initiatives in the field of education, and this agreement of ideals was confirmed by the aegis of UNESCO.

The Forum was organized by the Government of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), the Commission of the Russian Federation for UNESCO, the UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education (UNESCO IITE), and the International Association of Education Administrators. The Forum was attended by participants from six countries and eleven regions of Russia, including representatives from UNESCO, the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation, academia, the media, and the private sector.

UNESCO staff and experts took part in all events of the Forum, including panel discussions, round tables, and conferences. Mr. David Atchoarena, Director of Division for Policies and Lifelong Learning Systems of UNESCO, delivered the keynote speech “Achieving SDG-4 Education 2030: Overall Framework and UNESCO’s Role” at the plenary session. He also took part in several meetings with the Ms. Feodosia Gabysheva, Minister of Education of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia); visited some of the Republic’s educational institutions; attended the Open School – Horizons of Yakutia Exhibition; and answered questions about UNESCO projects in education at the press conference. Mr. Tigran Yepoyan, Officer-in-Charge of UNESCO IITE, Regional HIV and Health Education Advisor, participated in the panel discussion and the conference of young teachers, where he spoke about a safe school environment and presented a handbook for teachers entitled “The Prevention of Violence in Educational Institutions” developed by UNESCO in collaboration with experts from Eastern Europe and Central Asia. The publication “School without Violence” has been designed based on the regional handbook to inform managers and employees of educational institutions about the causes and forms of school violence, and offer steps for its prevention.

Within a meeting with Ms. Galina Danchikova, Chairman of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), with Mr. David Atchoarena, Mr. Tigran Yepoyan, UNESCO IITE specialists and experts exchanged views and proposals on the development of cooperation based on the 2014 Joint Communique on Cooperation between the Republic and UNESCO. UNESCO IITE has cooperated with the Government of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) for many years on the implementation of ICT-based projects for the development of effective regional education policy. In January 2016, UNESCO IITE and the Government of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) signed a Memorandum on Cooperation.

As part of the Lensky Forum, UNESCO IITE conducted a number of events, including a seminar “ICT towards achieving the objectives of the Education 2030 Framework for Action”. Presentations and workshops were held by UNESCO IITE’s partners, who are leading experts in the field of ICT in education. Ms. Elena Tarasova, UNESCO IITE Programme Assistant, spoke about UNESCO IITE’s interaction with global networks and joint projects with UNESCO IITE’s partners. A training seminar on “Modern Technologies for Persons with Disabilities” was held and organized jointly by UNESCO IITE and the International Telecommunication Union. UNESCO IITE experts In Bin, Paul Thompson, and Anatoly Popko presented modern approaches to learning and social inclusion of persons with disabilities through assistive technology. The seminar was attended by 116 teachers from different regions of Yakutia. An online broadcast of the seminar is available here.

The first Lensky Education Forum, held under the aegis of UNESCO, became a unique platform for the discussion and promotion of ideas on open schools and on the mechanisms of formation of open education. A Forum resolution adopted at the final plenary session will be available on the Forum’s official website.