Proposed by a UNESCO IITE partner, the Investment to the Future Charitable Foundation, approaches for personality potential development make it to the top list of UNESCO and UNICEF’s recommendations

On May 23, 2024, at an international symposium in Lusaka, Zambia, UNESCO and UNICEF announced the joint launch of the Building Strong Foundations initiative to develop foundational education for health and well-being and to help young children and adolescents learn essential life skills. The initiative aims to promote a holistic and coordinated approach by highlighting common goals and objectives of such education, defining its content and providing guidance for teachers.

The symposium was attended by Ekaterina Khaustova, Program Manager of the Investment to the Future Charitable Foundation. UNESCO IITE has been collaborating with the Foundation for several years to promote educational programs focused on students’ social and emotional development in an environment that fosters their personal growth.

The symposium, which was broadcast live in four languages, included participants from UNESCO, UNICEF, other international organizations, national ministries of education, academia, and civil society organizations active in the field of education.

Addressing the session “Fostering Transversal Skills, Including Social and Emotional Skills for Health and Well-being in Primary Schools” as a keynote speaker, Ekaterina Khaustova presented educational approaches, teaching and learning materials, and research findings on the implementation of the Investment to the Future Foundation’s program in educational institutions.

Starting in 2022, UNESCO has for two years engaged in consultations with experts and representatives from ministries of education in various countries to develop coordinated guidance for educational programs that help children and adolescents grow up healthy and thrive. These efforts started with a desk review of published research and programmatic documents on the topic, followed by regional consultations held online and attended by approximately 215 stakeholders. Then, in March 2023, a global meeting was convened, attended by 60 experts from various countries and sectors, including a representative of the Investment to the Future Foundation from Russia and UNESCO IITE partners from Kyrgyzstan and Armenia.

Already during the first series of consultations, the Foundation’s methodologies generated significant interest among experts and were viewed as promising practices. An overview of the Personality Potential Development Program that has been designed and implemented by the Investment to the Future Foundation to teach students transferable and social skills has been featured in the technical brief What to Teach for Foundational Education for Health and Well-being, published shortly before the symposium.

This and three other briefs, developed jointly by UNESCO and UNICEF, summarize the conclusions and recommendations from the regional and global consultations and provide evidence-based guidance to support the introduction or improvement of foundational education for health and well-being in primary schools.

Currently, experts from the Investment to the Future Foundation, in collaboration with UNESCO IITE and partners in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, work to create educational environments supportive of personality development in educational institutions and to launch joint research initiatives.

“Building Strong Foundations produced its first results even before its official launch. During previous working meetings, we met colleagues from various countries and initiated collaborative projects. Thanks to support from UNESCO IITE, our program has been adapted in Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. The staff of 23 schools and kindergartens have been trained and have since developed their own projects to transform the educational environment. They are preparing to begin teaching children starting in September 2024. This experience has been a truly valuable lesson for me. We may belong to different national cultures. We may speak different languages. But we still share the same values. The values that guide us in our work in Russia prove to be equally important in other countries: respect and attention to each individual’s personality, professional skills, and a human-centered culture.”

Ekaterina Khaustova, Head of the Personality Potential Development Program at the Investment to the Future Charitable Foundation

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