Panel Discussion on Rethinking National Smart Education Strategy held at the 10th Pan-Commonwealth Forum

Purpose of the session

On September 15, 2022, the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) and Athabasca University held a special session on rethinking smart education strategy at the 10th Pan-Commonwealth Forum (Calgary, Canada). The event was held in hybrid mode, where the presenters joined the session from Moscow, Johannesburg and Beijing.

Considering the importance of online learning in the new normal post-COVID-19, the session focused on sharing smart education best practices from around the world. The specific objectives of this session were to:

  • Share the findings of the project on smart education;
  • Discuss the critical success factors for smart education;
  • Present best practice cases on smart education;
  • Advocate for smart education policy at national level.

Dr. Tao Zhan, Director of UNESCO IITE, initiated the session and emphasized the need for smart education policies and strategies in the information era.

UNESCO IITE is pleased to join COL and Beijing Normal University in hosting this session at PCF10. COL and UNESCO IITE have also joined the Global Smart Education Network initiated by Dr. Ronghuai Huang, Professor at Beijing Normal University. The panel will share the findings of the global collaborative projects on smart education. The future ecosystem of education needs both innovative technology and innovative pedagogy. In the context of the UN Summit on Transforming Education, the key to inclusive and equitable education is in digital tools.”

Tao Zhan, Director of UNESCO IITE

Key speakers

There were three key presentations in the session:

  1. Ronghuai Huang, Professor, Beijing Normal University shared a presentation on “Rethinking and Redesigning National Smart Education Strategy” and highlighted the findings of the international project.
  2. Shafika Isaacs form University of Johannesburg, South Africa presented the “Smart education policy framework” developed as part of the project and highlighted the various dimensions.
  3. Yunwu Wang, Associate Professor at Jiangsu Normal University shared a presentation on “Smart Campus in the Context of New Educational Infrastructure Construction: Cases and Experience from China”.

With international examples, the session highlighted some good practices in implementing smart education strategies. The need for policy and robust infrastructure at national level to support smart education emerged as key issues. In the context of the PCF10, the session also contributed to the sub-theme building resilience.


The session contributed to rethinking education in a post-covid environment and develop robust mechanism for smart education that is resilient to disasters and pandemic and provide open education for all. The following are some key findings of the session:

  • Smart education is not only a smart approach but also the future of education being led by new digital technologies;
  • Emphasis should be on developing e-pedagogy and research in this emerging area;
  • A critical framework for smart education policy is the need of the hour, which should be reflective and suggestive for betterment;
  • Main targets for digital transformation are adoption of national smart education strategies and policies, digitalization of schools, and capacity building of teachers.

The session was facilitated by Dr. Sanjaya Mishra, Director: Education, Commonwealth of Learning and Prof. Gaurav Singh, Central University of Haryana, India serves as the Rapporteur.