Ministerial Forum “Global Dialogue on ICT and Education Innovation – Towards Sustainable Development Goal for Education (SDG 4)” was organized by the UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education (UNESCO IITE) in partnership with the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation at the Moscow International Education Fair on 18-19 April 2018 in Moscow (Russia). The Forum brought together representatives of ministries of education, heads of leading universities, practitioners from academic institutions and teacher professional development centres, as well as experts, educators and innovators in the field of ICT in education, coordinators of UNESCO networks, representatives of NGOs, IGOs, and private IT companies.
The Forum was opened by Ms. Olga Vasilyeva, Minister of Education and Science of the Russian Federation: “It is our common interest to focus on such important areas as pre-school and vocational education, the creation of an inclusive environment in educational institutions, and the training of teachers for all levels of education. And in this, I’m sure, a special role belongs to the effective use of information and communication technologies in education”. Ms. Vasilyeva highlighted that cooperation with UNESCO is one of the priorities of Russia and the Ministry of Education and Science on the international arena. Representative of the UNESCO Headquarters Mr. Fengchun Miao, Chief of the Unit for ICT in Education, delivered a presentation on “Leveraging ICTs for achieving SDG 4”.
The plenary and two panel sessions of the Ministerial Forum were held on 18 April. The Panel Session “ICT Potential for Future Teachers and Future Schools” allowed participants to discuss polices and practices of innovative educational environment and new competencies of students and teachers of the 21st century in technology-mediated education. Speakers of the Panel Session shared experience from Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East and proposed the perspectives of ICT potential for future development of education with engagement of national authorities, academia, international organisations, private sector and NGOs. The session was co-moderated by Ms. Natalia Amelina, Chief of Unit of Teacher Professional Development and Networking of UNESCO IITE, and Mr. Kuzvinetsa Peter Dzvimbo, Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Vaal University of Technology in South Africa, Governing Board member of UNESCO IITE.
The session “Digital Pedagogy and OER: Translating Commitments and Policies into Actions and Practices” was aimed to discuss the policies for the implementation and mainstreaming of digital pedagogies in education systems. Internationally recognized experts from Africa, Asia, Europe and North America deliberated on the issues related to expanding educational opportunities through the use of ICT in education. Special emphasis was placed on the importance of fostering inclusive and quality education systems, particularly though widening the access to quality digital content available in local languages, including Open Educational Resources (OER), the role of new digital media in complementing the learning process and the need for adapting of curriculum to accommodate adequate digital skills and media and information literacy. During the session, participants examined implementing scalable innovations against present state of policy, capacity and partnership with a view to align practice with policy.
The Forum also included three parallel workshops organized on 19 April. The Workshop “Teachers for Education 2030: ICT Potential for Transformation of the System” brought together government officials from national ministries of education in charge of ICT in secondary education of South Africa and Uzbekistan, experts of teacher and professor communities, as well as representatives of Russian and British IT companies. The main subject of presentations was how to promote innovative pedagogy and teachers’ professional development through and with ICT.
The Workshop “Openness for Quality and Equity in Education” intended to examine current and emerging trends in educational practice and innovations related to open teaching and learning in the context of the quality and equity in education. Particular attention was paid to the pressing issues in mainstreaming ICT-enabled innovation in open education. Policy-makers, experts and practitioners from China, Ghana, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan as well as representatives from UNESCO Headquarters and UNESCO Asia-Pacific Regional Bureau for Education became the key speakers at the workshop. The core issues raised at the workshop included measuring the present adoption and future impact of OER; sharing promising models and experiences in developing, adapting and monitoring innovations in open education; identifying scalable and sustainable ICT-enabled educational models to enhance the quality of learning and develop the core competencies for the digital era; and the role of openness in facilitating educational innovation and transformation through ICT.
The Partnership Roundtable “Collaboration between Public and Private Sectors” served as a platform for private and public sector, international organisations and academia representatives to present best examples of collaboration between different actors to ensure an effective educational ecosystem and discuss perspective areas for cooperation. Guest speakers engaged in the discussion represented such companies as IBM Russia/CIS, online learning platforms Uchi.ru and Codewards. Academic perspective was presented by the Lamar University from the USA and the Limkokwing University from Botswana. International organisations also contributed to the discussion with International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Office for Russia and CIS and experts from a Dutch NGO – International Centre of Excellence for Innovative Learning.
The Forum became a platform for the participants to share policies and innovative experience; discuss the challenges and opportunities of ICT-enhanced quality education; build on partnerships to develop and implement evidence-based and results-oriented national education strategies to meet the challenges of Education 2030.