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Central Asia Symposium on ICT in Education 2015 (7-9 July, Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic)

Central Asia Symposium on ICT in Education 2015 (7-9 July, Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic)

Meant as a sub-regional platform for the Central Asian countries to collectively deliberate on possible solutions to the current challenges as well as opportunities, with a focus on integrating technologies in the education systems, CASIE 2015 took place in Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic, the 4th of its kind since its inception in 2011. In response to the previous Symposium’s feedback from the participants, this year’s event continued to focus on the importance of policies, strategies, initiatives and supportive environments for innovative pedagogy and systematic teacher education and professional development, as well as the effective integration of ICT into teaching and learning. Aligned with the Post-2015 Development Agenda, the Muscat Agreement and the Bangkok Statement for the Asia-Pacific region, governments must collectively ensure the development of qualified, professionally trained, motivated, committed and well-supported teachers who use appropriate pedagogical approaches by the year 2030. Additionally, with the support of the Sustainable Development Goals that further highlighted the key role of teachers, the theme of CASIE 2015 was “Fostering an Enabling Environment for Teacher Innovation: From Policy to Practice”. The Symposium addressed various aspects to bring about such an environment, including 1) comprehensive teacher development policies and programmes for quality and relevance, 2) the importance of school leadership in creating a conducive and sustainable environment for teachers, 3) the necessity of quality digital resources for teachers, and 4) the role of EMIS and education data in enhancing policy and supporting teachers.

With the support from the Kyrgyz government, the National Commission for UNESCO of the Kyrgyz Republic, Korea Education and Research Information Service (KERIS), UNESCO Almaty, UNESCO IITE, and Intel, UNESCO Bangkok together with its partners provided a platform for almost 70 participants, namely Ministry of Education officials from five countries (Kyrgyz Republic, Republic of Kazakhstan, Republic of Tajikistan, Republic of Uzbekistan and Mongolia), as well as local and international speakers and experts who represented more than 10 countries, such as Korea, Singapore, Ukraine, Malaysia, Philippines, France, Canada, and more. All the participants engaged in fruitful, rich and multi-directional discussions to enable and support efforts in building national capacity in the use of ICT in Education at all levels. Through country presentations and the roundtable discussion, the delegates had the opportunity to individually present their initiatives, progress, and challenges as well as find new ways to collaborate with the partners and governments in the region and beyond. The Roundtable Discussion likewise served as an opportunity for the delegates to discuss individual country plans for CASIE and ways to effectively utilize this platform, voice their challenges as well as opportunities and chances of collaboration, as well as receive support from local and international organizations in addressing these challenges and building on each other’s potential.

The Gallery Walk, which focused on the digital resources for teaching and learning, featured ten local and international organizations and their resources, tools and programmes that can enhance the teaching process, such as the UNESCO Bangkok Digital Resources, UNESCO IITE MOOCs for teachers, school leaders and policymakers, OER in CIS countries, KERIS KOCW and access to online lectures, Republic of Uzbekistan multimedia resources, University of Central Asia eBilim mobile digital library, Republic of Kazakhstan digital educational resources, and ICDL training modules for essential skills. Conducted in a model of demo sessions, participants and presenters had the chance to directly discuss potential points for exchange, collaboration or improvement of the given tools.

Two parallel workshops were also held by UNESCO Bangkok and Intel CIS on developing national ICT competency standards for teachers and the Intel Education Galaxy, respectively. Both sessions provided participants with ideas of how to further support their teachers, highlighting the importance of teacher communities, as well as clear competency standards that are essential for preparing, monitoring, assessing and supporting teachers.

Finally, the participants had a chance to visit two study sites, teacher training centre and a school, upon the end of the Symposium in order to learn and see how teachers are trained and how students can utilize technology in innovative ways to learn and collaborate with each other, as well as students from across the world.

Overall, the Symposium proved to be useful and fruitful, collecting many positive reviews from the participants as well as suggestions for future improvements and possible themes for the upcoming event, currently planned for the year 2016 in the Republic of Kazakhstan.

For more information about the CASIE 2015 and previous CASIEs, please visit: []