As a joint CRI-UNESCO initiative, the mission of the #LearningPlanet is to help transform education systems: in thriving learning ecosystems, youth are empowered to address challenges, from local issues to SDGs, through Collective Problem Solving pedagogies. Truly innovative schools and universities, NGOs and social entrepreneurs, online communities and grassroot movements are already working in this direction. These seeds of change need to be harnessed, fostered and connected with the institutions that have the power to scale their effective pedagogies. This urgent shift of mindset calls for a collective effort and all stakeholders across society should be invited to collaborate.

Download the programme of the conference here

Some highlights include:

National and international institutions were well represented in the Opening and Closing sessions:

During the opening session, Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO, highlighted the need for immediate action at scale. In 2020, many people still study in an inappropriate way: « We know that […] time is running out. We have 258 million children and teenagers out of school, more than 400 millions in school but not learning as they should. It is now time for us to give ourselves the resources to rise to this challenge. »

National and international institutions were well represented in the Opening and Closing sessions:
Jean-Michel Blanquer, French Minister of Education, fully agreed: « We need to be sure that in the future our young people are properly trained, in particular for the new jobs that will emerge. Therefore, phenomenal changes have to take place over the coming years, state by state, region by region, city by city […]. We have to make sure that this involves all the players around the world. »

HE Ibrahima Guimba-Saidou, Minister and Special Advisor to the President of Niger and CEO ANSI, shared the same conviction. Niger is a big country with the youngest population in the world, growing rapidly. While this may be seen as a huge challenge, it is also a unique opportunity if supported by a coherent political vision that puts quality education at the heart of an innovative and sustainable model of development. No doubt the vision and the will to create a thriving learning ecosystem are there in Niger and already taking form, with the creation of Innovation City in Niamey and a range of ambitious new programmes. The « Intelligent Villages » project, for instance, connects 15,000 villages in Niger with digital tools. This project was launched to provide sustainable solutions likely to revolutionise the lives of rural populations and promote the use of ICT for every type of learners especially young people : « Through this program, Intelligent Village, we have managed to use our limited resources to bring about change. We said that we didn’t really need to mobilise a lot of financial resources to start transforming our society. So we decided to mobilize young people through competitions and contests. » In addition to contributing to develop new specific knowledges for all, the #IntelligentVillage helps people to identify, analyse and consult information anytime, anywhere, capitalizing on immediate data: “What is important is what we actually learn. In this program, it begins with the consultation of local communities and groups of start-ups. They meet with a community, they identify what are the priorities and then develop apps. And these applications help us to make sure that everyone can learn [whether learners or teachers] differently wherever they may find themselves, even in the middle of the desert. »

In the Closing session, Mrs Sarah Marniesse, Head of the development Campus at AFD (Agence Français de Développement) echoed the need for urgent and radical transformation: “We are in a situation in which if we continue doing what we used to do, we are heading straight to disaster. Learning in a different manner certainly is an emergency and has to be taken seriously. Today we have to shift mindsets.”

The main discussions were structured around the sharing of exemplary projects by leading innovators:

Stemming from Asia and Africa, Latin America and USA as well as Europe and Russia, some 20 practitioners from very diverse backgrounds shared insights on the programmes and solutions that they are successfully implementing in the field of learning for SDGs. All of them demonstrated their ability to sustain a holistic approach of learning, placing the learner at the heart of their purpose-project-challenge-research-based pedagogies, while also focusing on some key priorities such as being truly inclusive, guaranteeing gender equity, encouraging reflexivity and/or empathy.

1. Karen Kelly, Partnership Manager Laboratoria – 2. Chandrika Bahadur, President, Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) – 3. Flavio Bassi, VP Ashoka Latin America – 4. Guy Etienne, Founder of the College Catts Pressoir in Haiti – 5. Ekaterina Loshkareva, WorldSkills International Board Member, Strategic Development.

For a detailed program of IDE 2020 and click here and for the full video recording of all the talks click here for the English version, and here for the French version.

Youth representatives were also present and active across the whole event:

Stemming from Brazil, China, India and Romania, Master students from the CRI served as moderator for each of the 4 thematic sessions addressing learning for people, peace, planet and prosperity. Meanwhile, a team of young reporters from ChildPress thoroughly covered the festival, interviewing a wide range of speakers and participants; they were supported in their effort to capture the best views shared throughout the day by volunteer students who were also making interviews and videos, sharing ideas on #LP social media channels.

In the Closing session, Gohar Hovhannisyan, Vice-President of the European Student Union (representing 20 million students across Europe) called for a more purposeful education system that allows for real-deep engagement of learners at every stage of their personal learning pathways.

Last but not least, the #LearningPlanet initiators closed the event with a strong call for action:

Following an inspiring exchange of views with Stefania Giannini, ADG Education at UNESCO, and Sarah Marniesse, AFD, François Taddei, CRI co-founder and Chief exploration officer, underlined the importance of collective intelligence and collective action to turn our shared dreams of positive futures into reality. He also emphasized the importance of celebrating knowledge both individually and collectively, and invited the whole world to commit to doing so: « I don’t know much about the future, but there should certainly be a January 24 every year. We shall therefore be invited to celebrate learning in coming years, the way we’ve been celebrating it today, and ideally to celebrate it everywhere. […] We would like to invite everyone to celebrate what they learn and what is truly important to them, so think about this for yourself. »