Global Education & Skills Forum Blog

GESF 2018: it’s a wrap for another year

In this year’s Global Skills and Education Forum, we brought together a terrific list of speakers to answer the question; How do we prepare young people for the world of 2030 and beyond?

We laughed in the Rory Bremner-hosted GESF Live! chat show; we were moved to tears by stories of survivors of adversity, and we got to our feet in celebration of some of the world’s best teachers.

Here are some of the highlights:

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There were some deeply moving moments during the Forum, from speakers who had faced the worst in adversity – and survived.

Mohamed Sidibay spoke in the opening plenary with emotion and passion about his early life in Sierra Leone, where he was trained to be a soldier: “My toys had been changed for an AK47,” he says. Now studying for a law degree in the US, Mr Sidibay credits education as being his salvation.

Survivors of the Parkland, Florida shooting spoke about how they had now made it their life’s mission to prevent a similar tragedy from ever happening again.

Three extraordinary people inspired us with their stories on how adversity had inspired them to become leaders.

Leaving no child behind in education was an important topic, and actor, activist and producer Priyanka Chopra, spoke of the urgency of educating those displaced by war and conflict.  

Former Australian Prime Minister and chairman of the board of directors for the Global Partnership for Education Julia Gillard, spoke about the importance of tackling the education gender gap “Empowering a woman starts with educating a girl” she said.

 

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Innovation

We had a glimpse into the future of education, and how innovation will help shape it.

 

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Our inaugural Next Billion Edtech Prize was shared by three start-ups with the radically shake up education around the globe.

Audience favourite Chatterbox functions as an online language school powered by refugees; dot Learn helps to make online distance learning more accessible and affordable to those with poor internet access; and TeachMeNow links teachers with potential students.

Sunny Varkey explained how the inaugural Prize will recognise the efforts of those to spread education: “The prize will highlight technology’s potential to tackle the problems that have proven too difficult for successive generations of politicians to solve.” he said. Chatterbox is changing the lives of refugees through their online language school in the UK. 

Join the conversation

This year also saw the launch of some new formats.

The lively Debate Chamber, a micro version of the House of Commons, hosted debates including ‘Is celebrity culture harming young people?’; ‘Is the rise of populism a dangerous thing?’;‘and Is “I can just Google it” making us stupid?’.

The very first GESF Live! also proved to be hugely popular. Comedian Rory Bremner was joined each day by an all-star cast from the world of sport, academia, politics and acting.

 

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In the intimate conversations held in the Coffee House, we heard how teachers had had a real impact on sports stars Lewis Hamilton and Mo Farah, while former British Politicians Tony Blair and George Osborne discussed the state of the world today.

The Teachers

Let’s not forget that, at the heart of everything we are trying to achieve within global education. is the work of millions of teachers across the world.

Teachers can save the world, said Simon Schama, and he was right.

It’s because of this that every year we award the Global Teacher Prize. The 50 finalists of the Global Teacher Prize received a standing ovation at GESF in recognition of their place as life-changers of young people.

UK teacher Andria Zafirakou was awarded the Global Teacher Prize this year, for her work on raising standards while faced with gangland violence in one of the UK’s poorest regions.


See you next year!



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