Education International
Education International

Striking a balance between technology and quality teaching and learning

published 19 October 2015 updated 18 November 2015

At the first-ever Global Education Industry Summit, education stakeholders are exploring the opportunities offered by innovation in teaching and learning and to discuss a framework for ensuring quality and equity amid rapid technological advance.

Joining education ministers, private companies and teacher organisations in Helsinki, Education International (EI) General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen led a delegation of teacher and other union representatives to the sessions and in his prepared remarks commended the OECD for sponsoring the ground breaking sessions along with the European Commission and the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture.

“It seems clear that the participants share a common desire to move us forward from a foundation of evidence and experience,” said van Leeuwen. “Teachers have always been open source - borrowing, sharing, and collaborating. Clearly, technology can take professional practice to an entirely new level, especially when it is embedded as an element of continuous professional development for teachers.”

Sessions at the conference include Mobilising Technology to Widen Access and Improve Quality, Digital revolution supporting pedagogies and teachers, and Partnerships for transformative education policies.

Further in his scheduled remarks, van Leeuwen referenced EI’s policy on the introduction and use of information and communications technology. At EI’s Seventh World Congress in Ottawa, Canada this summer, delegates reaffirmed the federation’s support for the use of ICT as an integral part of the provision of quality education for all.

Read van Leeuwen’s Op-Ed in the TES here

In addition, van Leeuwen was to note, “We said governments should develop national plans for the use and promotion of ICT in consultation with education unions and education community interests and others with relevant expertise and allocate the necessary funds to ensure that every education institution has access to high quality ITC (and that) companies need to recognise the professional integrity and independence of education institutions and personnel and ensure that the primary purpose of the engagement is to provide support for teaching and learning.”

Education International Project Director Angelo Gavrielatos was to discuss the growing concern about commercialisation and privatisation of education with an emphasis on the responsibility of government to be accountable to focus its policies and authority around a central theme of education as a human right.

“It is essential that schools are places of learning and sanctuaries for children,” said Gavrielatos in prepared remarks. “As the UN Special Rapporteur declared last year, schools are not to be used as a marketplace for the commercial self-interest of any corporation, including the monetizing of student data. The overarching characteristic of industry/corporate involvement must be one that is transparent, that enables all students and communities, respects the teaching profession and recognises the value of equitable school systems.”