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Education World Forum focuses on edtech benefits

The Education World Forum attracted nearly 100 of the world’s education ministers to London. The event was opened by the newly appointed UK minister, Damien Hinds, and delegates came from as far afield as Sudan, Iran and Colombia. The US delegation was unable to attend, due to the short-lived federal government shutdown.

L to R: David Aaronovitch, columnist and EWF compere; Matthew Prempah, Ghana minister of education; Andreas Schleicher, director of education at the OECD; Antonio Salcito, vice-president of education at Microsoft on stage at EWF18. Photo: The PIE News

The PIE News understands that at least two memorandums of understanding were signed at this year's EWF

Among the featured speakers was Andreas Schleicher, director of education at the OECD, who discussed the recently announced changes to the PISA. He made it clear that “global competencies” is far from just a buzzword, and during a discussion on the effect of changing economies on global education, pointed out that “poverty is not destiny” and improved skills can actually affect GDP.

In Hinds’ opening, the new minister was fast to mention technology’s role in education, which was another key focus of the forum.

“Technology is a leveller for the divide between the poor and rich”

“Technology must have a role in our sector, as it does in other sectors, to be able to ease workload, which is a matter I know of great importance to teachers,” he declared.

This point was echoed by both Anthony Salcito, vice-president of education at Microsoft, and Ghana’s education minister Matthew Prempeh.

Salcito argued that the not only will the future of work be hugely affected by automation and “mixed-reality” systems, but “the way we learn as humans has fundamentally changed” by technology.

Prempeh told the gathered ministers that the Ghanaian government are making “a conscious effort” to recognise inequality in education, and advancements in technology can assist this effort.

“Technology is a leveller for the divide between the poor and rich”, he said.

Alongside the open discussions and debates, the Education World Forum gave ministers and institutions from around the world the opportunity to discuss cooperation and future agreements.

The PIE News understands that at least two memorandums of understanding were signed on the sidelines of this year’s gathering.

Alongside UUKi, the UK’s new universities minister Sam Gyimah signed an MoU with the Egyptian HE minister, Khaled Abdel-Ghaffar, to support UK HEIs in building new branch campuses in Egypt.

Elsewhere, Nottingham University signed an agreement with Panyathip International School in Laos to offer foundation programs in the south Asian nation. The signing was also attended by Laos’ minister of education and sport, Sengdeuane Lachanthaboun and UK trade envoy Ed Vaizey.

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