The WISE 2023 summit is set to gather education providers in Doha from November 28-29 .
A new desire for transformative education models has emerged as a result of the disruption of education during COVID-19. Because of how quickly the world changes, casual learning is frequently undervalued.
“Our future depends on our youth having access to meaningful education that empowers them with lasting knowledge and understanding,” says Shahd Dauleh, Learning Ecosystems Associate at the World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE), Qatar Foundation’s global education initiative.
“Opportunities that go beyond formal education and knowledge development, that are mentally stimulating and empowering, enable youth to unleash their best qualities and increase their likelihood of a better future.”
In light of this, WISE organized the “youth empowerment”-themed Doha Learning Days Festival in February. By banding together to support this objective, the community demonstrated that learning can take place both inside and outside of the classroom.
Partnering with education innovators
WISE has identified fresh approaches to rethinking education in the wake of the pandemic through its study. According to WISE, one of the lessons is to promote learner agency and let students use their own knowledge to find answers for their own lives and communities. Additionally, it is important for teachers, parents, and students to guide learning by becoming lifelong learners.
A special program focused on cutting-edge teaching techniques like place-based learning, storytelling, peer-to-peer learning, active experimentation, and simulations was developed by WISE in partnership with more than 20 content partners.
Learning sustainability through Lego Serious Play was one of the workshops offered at the school. Another was the Maker Majlis at Hamad Bin Khalifa University, which promoted self-reflection and research into sustainability education.
Inspiring social entrepreneur Zubair Junjunia, the founder and CEO of ZNotes, who has touched over 4 million students worldwide since starting the community-driven online learning platform at age 16, gave students the chance to learn design thinking.
“Design thinking is used by high-tech corporations like Google to solve global problems. For students, it can be a tool to explore solutions in the local context for challenges they may confront. This is one of the ways design thinking helps creates learner agency,” he said.
With chances for them to run their own sessions, WISE designed the festival with youth in mind.
The “Financial Football” workshop, which included a quick-paced game created by Visa to teach youth on crypto and digital currencies, stocks, inflation, mortgages, personal data protection, and other elements of financial literacy, was led by students at Qatar Academy Al Wakra.
For Doha Learning Days, Visa worked with the Qatar Academy students for 18 months and encouraged them to share their expertise with others.
“Peer learning is a very powerful tool,” said Carl Manlan, Visa’s Vice President, Inclusive Impact and Sustainability for Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa. “As we see from the interactions between those learning and the young men and women teaching the workshop – anyone, given the right tools, can share knowledge.”
Sultan Ali Abdullah, a workshop leader and student in grade 11,said: “[Having students lead] allows us to cooperate and bounce ideas off each other. The fact that I can relay facts to my classmates empowers me. And we get to discuss important topics among ourselves.”
Adding Abdulaziz Mohamed Al Kuwari, a fellow Grade 11, added: “We try to make it as fun and engaging as possible so all the students take part. We get to communicate with each other and strengthen important skills. What we learn here will help us in our future, when we reach college or find jobs, and develop the future of Qatar.”
A Strategic Partner of the festival and Swiss wealth manager Julius Baer gave a masterclass on the basics of investing with the aim of empowering future generations and putting students on an early road to financial freedom.
Kaeden Patel, 12, was in a unique position to assist his peers “Unlock [Their] Potential in the Metaverse” in terms of digital education.
His father, Nimesh Patel, is the CEO of Kabuni, a company located in the UK with the goal of “educate with purpose”, noticed that kids are naturally curious and require fewer explanations than adults when using technology (in this case, virtual reality headsets). Instead, they are actively learning through an immersive encounter that engages all of their senses.
Sharing knowledge, generating dialogue
The transformational agenda is the main emphasis of WISE’s studies and publications. The learning festival, which is slated to become an annual project, can produce insights that influence curricula and policy recommendations by piloting innovation with local youth.
“Innovation is strengthened and enabled by exchanging and sharing knowledge or best practices. In the case of Doha Learning Days, it helps fuel local knowledge and perspectives that can inform discussions at our global WISE summit,” says Dauleh.
Under the direction of Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, the Qatar Foundation’s chair, WISE was founded in 2009.
WISE is a worldwide, multi-sectoral forum for insightful discussion and deliberate action in the field of education.
On November 28 and 29, the WISE 2023 summit will bring together experts in the field of education in Doha to discuss how to address urgent issues facing the field, especially those affecting young people.