Regional Forum 2022 identifies priorities in reinventing the future of schools

More than 350 educators from Southeast Asian countries joined the SEAMEO INNOTECH Regional Forum from 27-28 January 2022. Teachers, school leaders, policy makers, education officials and advocates, parents, and students gathered to contribute to the discourse on the future of schools, answering the question: “how might we reinvent schools for a better future of every learner in Southeast Asia?”

Two years into the pandemic and many of the students in Southeast Asia are still affected by the uncertainty of reopening schools. We have seen an increase in the use of hybrid learning delivered through online, TV, radio, print-based materials, and some limited face-to-face interactions. Massive efforts were made to set flexible school routines and delivery modalities. Teachers and students also set themselves to navigate through the new learning environment. Now, parents and other family members are providing greater support to their children who are at home learning. School communities also came together to offer help. Without realizing it, all these and other shifts are redefining the institution we call school.

SEAMEO INNOTECH Center Director, Dr. Ramon C. Bacani, sees the Regional Forum as an excellent opportunity to explore possibilities of how schools may be reinvented as a learning ecosystem. “This is an opportunity for us to have a good appreciation of the solutions and innovations being done in various countries. It is an opportunity to identify collaborative programs that would further strengthen cooperation and exchange of experiences among education stakeholders and partners,” he said.

Drawing from the compelling stories, best practices, and experiences of education practitioners and key stakeholders, the Regional Forum was able to identify priorities in reinventing schools: (1) Reinventing Learning Delivery; (2) Reinventing and Empowering Teachers; (3) Reinventing School Policies for a Better Future for Every Learner; (4) Reinventing Towards a More Learner-centered, Practical, and Context-based Curriculum; (5) Reinventing Towards a More Authentic Learning Assessment; (6) Reinventing for Transformative School Leadership; (7) Championing Safe and Healthy Learning Environment; (8) Reinventing the Role of and Sustaining Healthy Relationship with Education Stakeholders; and (9) Reinventing the Learning Environment. Participants selected the five priorities they consider most important and identified next steps and activities for it.

Reinventing Learning Delivery

This cluster contains topics generated throughout the 2-day forum which relates to the delivery of learning in the new normal. This hopes to address the different problems faced in distance education and blended learning, especially in remote areas. It also tackles topics on teaching strategies to deliver lessons in the most effective way. The participants look at reinventing learning delivery by making it highly creative, practical, inclusive, and culturally responsive.

Reinventing and Empowering Teachers

As teachers have a key role to play in the learning of students, this cluster has the greatest number of topics generated. The participants highlighted the importance of upskilling and empowering teachers, making them ready for the future.

Reinventing School Policies for a Better Future for Every Learner

Learning from their experiences in the past school years in pandemic, the participants highlighted the need to review school policies to make it responsive to their current and future needs.

Reinventing Towards a More Learner-centered, Practical, and Context-based Curriculum

This cluster contains topics related to nurturing competencies and skills of this generation’s learners. Specifically on global citizenship, leadership skills, career-related skills, and other 21st century skills. The participants hope that schools be reinvented by having a more learner-centered curriculum where students will gain practical knowledge and skills to prepare them for their future career or work.

Reinventing Towards a More Authentic Learning Assessment

This cluster of topics hopes to reinvent schools by reinventing learning assessments. Specifically, they hope that assessments would genuinely measure the learning gaps and the skills obtained by the learners. The participants also hope to ensure quality and reliability of assessment results amid distance learning.

The full Book of Proceedings, containing the documentation of the Forum sessions and the mini conversations that were held prior, can be accessed and downloaded on the INNOTECH website. You can check out the Forum’s opening session on our Facebook page and YouTube Channel.

*Article updated on 04/08/2022 to include link to the Book of Proceedings

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