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Rethinking Education through Imagining Future Scenarios

Rethinking education is about thinking outside the box and re-envisioning education in a changing world. It builds on the premise that creating sustainable futures requires us to recognize the constant transformation in education and learning, as well as the transformative force of education.

As part of its efforts to rethink education, UNESCO Bangkok in partnership with Chulalongkorn University Department of Lifelong Education organized the workshop Rethinking Education through Imagining Future Scenarios, a Futures Literacy KnowLab from 2 to 5 September 2015, at the Faculty of Education, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand.

This workshop gathered over 30 community-based learning and non-formal education practitioners from Asia and the Pacific. Led by Riel Miller, Foresight Programme Specialist from UNESCO Paris, participants were engaged in a learning-by-doing knowledge creation process. This involved group activities centred on imagining the world in 2040 and describing future possibilities in education through brainstorming sessions, creative exhibits and plenary discussions. International foresight experts - Shermon Cruz, Director, Philippine Center for Foresight Education and Innovation Research; Roumiana Gotseva, Managing Director, Centre for Strategic Foresight, Bulgaria; and Anita Sykes-Keller, Director, Designer Futures, Australia – joined the workshop to facilitate the group activities.

Participants used their in-depth knowledge of community-based learning and non-formal education to explore new perspectives. In one of the workshop sessions, they were asked to create sculptures to incorporate and concretize their shared visions of the future of education. New questions and perspectives that can drive transformation in education and learning emerged through this process.

The group activities were designed to facilitate the exchange of ideas and experiences through imagining probable, preferred and alternative futures for education. By creating these three future scenarios, they were able to come up with action agenda which reflected their anticipatory thinking and aspirations of the future they envisioned together. Different project proposals served as an entry point for participants to continue the collaborative process for rethinking education after the workshop.

According to Ehsanur Rahman, Executive Director of Dhaka Ahsania Mission, Bangladesh, ideas from this workshop can be carried out by the communities and educational institutions through one’s respective organization. “[…] the discussions will be useful in my organization in our future planning process […]”, Rahman added.

 

When asked about how the workshop benefited them, Anne Lasimbang, Executive Director of PACOS Trust, Malaysia answered, “The workshop helped us to think about the future so that we can make plans and [know] what are the ideal things we can do in education, and try to go and think beyond the box.”  Babu Kaji Shrestha, Founding Director of Global Action Nepal, adds to this remark by saying that “thinking outside the box is something [about] making things happen even if it doesn’t exist now.”  Ma. Bernadette Refuerzo, Chief TESD Specialist of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority from the Philippines realized, “Now I know what would be the learnings of education in the future. The best part of the workshop was the sharing of experience with other participants, their insights and their wisdom on community learning centers”.

For Dorothy Lucardie, Board Member of Adult Learning Australia, more than the lessons in futures thinking, she enjoyed the “fun […] in terms of imagining what another future will be like.”

To culminate the workshop, Chulalongkorn University hosted an excursion to the Banjumrung Community Learning Centre at Rayong Province, Thailand on 5 September 2015. In this study trip, participants learned about the Community’s best practice of the “sufficiency economy” philosophy and rural community development.

For more information, please contact Ushio Miura [u.miura(at)unesco.org] at the Education Policy and Reform Unit.


Written by Ace Victor Aceron [av.aceronl(at)unesco.org] and Arianna Flores Corral [af.corral(at)unesco.org]   


Related Links:

• Rethinking Education through Imagining Future Scenarios
• Rethinking Education
• Education for Sustainable Development



29.09.2015