Global Education & Skills Forum

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12 - 13 March 2016

Atlantis The Palm,
Dubai, U.A.E.

5 key takeaways from day two of GESF 2016

Sunday saw another incredible day at the Global Education and Skills Forum, as the debates, masterclasses and discussions continued.

The day opened with three inspiring stories from children around the globe, and as always the power of education to change the lives of our young people dominated today’s sessions.

These are the moments you need to know about:

1) Hanan Al Hroub was announced as the winner of the Global Teacher Prize 2016. The inspirational Palestinian teacher focuses on ensuring that children can learn in a safe environment, embracing the slogan ‘No to Violence’. As Pope Francis highlighted in his video announcing the winner, it’s crucial for a child to be given the opportunity and freedom to play. Hanan embraces this philosophy. We are honoured to name her as this year’s winner.

2) “The biggest injustice for any child is not to give them educational opportunity”. Former UK Prime Minister, Tony Blair gave his views on global education and this year’s theme in a key session this afternoon. The wide-ranging discussion, featuring Mr Blair, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova and WPP CEO Sir Martin Sorrell, tackled some of the major issues in education today. As the panel agreed, education is ultimately all about children – a timely and powerful reminder of why we’ve all been here.

SD4_70433) Elias Bou Saab, the Lebanese Minister for Education, stole the show at the morning’s plenary session. He called on the international community to do more in tackling the refugee crisis – especially in making sure all children have access to education. He outlined the struggle faced in Lebanon to ensure that Syrian refugee children do not become a ‘lost generation’ and highlighted that a child’s place is in the classroom.

4) The teachers of 2030. The future of the teaching profession was the topic of the first panel discussion of the day. The role of technology dominated the opening of the discussion, with a consensus reached, that teacher will never be replaced by technology. As Anies Basweden, the Indonesian Minister of Education and Culture highlighted “education is about interaction between human beings. Technology must help that interaction.”

GESF 2016 Quote Anies5) We’re becoming too focused on STEM education. That was the conclusion of the audience in a key GESF Debate Chamber. Last year’s Global Teacher Prize winner, Nancie Atwell, debated with fellow 2015 top 10 finalist Stephen Ritz, plus Anna Winthrop and Oley Dibba-Wadda. While it was universally acknowledged that both STEM and the humanities are vital to a rounded education, the audience ultimately decided that STEM is becoming too dominant.

The Global Education and Skills Forum is the leading multi-stakeholder education event bringing together leaders from the Public, Private and Social sectors together to address how we can deliver on the promise of education, equity and employment for all.


Blog post by:

Harsha Sharma
Harsha Sharma
Digital Communications Manager, Varkey Foundation