The 2018 Dujiangyan International Forum was held on 30-31 August 2018 in Chengdu, China.
The Forum was arranged by the Chinese National Commission for UNESCO, Chengdu Municipal People’s Government, and the UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education.
During the opening ceremony of the Forum, welcome speeches were delivered by Ms Xiaoliu Liu, Vice Mayor of Chengdu Municipal People’s Government; Mr Tao Zhan, Director of UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education; and by Mr Changwei Qin, Secretary-General of the Chinese National Commission for UNESCO.
The main theme of the Forum was “Balanced Urban and Rural Development in the Framework of Education 2030”. Discussions of the Forum participants were focused on such issues as vocational and technical education and skills development; bridging urban-rural education gap through innovative ICT solutions; and eco civilization and education for sustainable development. Over 300 experts from the United States, Germany, Canada, Russia, Australia, Japan and China attended the event.
As some speakers brought up in the 2018 Dujiangyan International Forum, bottom-up approaches, used by professional networks of teachers or grassroot communities, should eventually take greater ownership in sustainability projects. The reasons for strengthening bottom-up approaches are connected with the demands to bridge urban-rural education gap. New approaches for educator preparation are required to meet the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG4) and the Education 2030 Agenda.
In the framework of the 2018 Dujiangyan International Forum, UNESCO IITE organized a section titled “Bridging Urban-Rural Education Gap through Innovative ICT Solutions”. The use of ICT-based teaching practices and application of ICT in teacher professional development ensure achievement of those goals, yet existing teacher training method have been largely ineffective in achieving measurable results. Bering in mind the potential of ICT for equal access and quality of education, the participants of the section discussed and analysed best practices of the implementation of strategies, programmes and methods of ICT use in education in urban and rural areas. The participants exchanged opinions on the impact of ICT bridging urban-rural education Gap and promoting collaboration and networking between the major educational centers (located usually in big cities) and rural educational institutions. The first part of the section was devoted to new approaches for social rehabilitation and inclusion of people with disabilities, while the second part of the section was focused on digitalization of education and improving the professional competence of teachers.
During the section discussions and debates, the participants agreed that the huge ICT potential would support urban-rural collaboration and networking in such areas as teacher professional development, collaboration and exchanges between schools and universities, and for sure, it would strengthen equal access and social inclusion of persons with disabilities.