How to get the educational system out of the crisis it is going through? These are the proposals left by the panelists on the last day of the 9th Leaders for Education Summit

The second day of this important event began with the intervention of Keishia Thorpe, winner of the Global Teacher Prize 2021. From her knowledge and experience, she stated that “if Colombia wants to achieve sustainable development, it must transform the education of the most vulnerable”.

As a revealing fact, the best teacher in the world pointed out that there are more than 100 million displaced people in the world and more than 1.8 million migrants from Venezuela have arrived in Colombia. Given this scenario, she assured that one of the challenges facing the country is to guarantee education for all students.

In order for migrants, immigrants and refugees to achieve a coupling of the system and to guarantee their right to education, educational models such as community schools are ideal. “They have a comprehensive approach that includes administrative support, legal services, support in mental and socio-emotional health issues, delivery of basic products, school supplies, assistive devices and accompaniment by tutors.

How to empower students?

In the middle of the event, the importance of focusing academic skills so that students can solve real problems was also highlighted. In this way, empowerment and confidence in the student body are promoted.

However, Gladis Aleida Botero, a teacher at the José María Muñoz Flórez Educational Institution, in Urabá, explained that in order for this to be achieved “we must train ourselves in the knowledge of social skills. Only in this way can we help others.”

Currently, the Colombian educational system has enormous challenges. The lag left by the pandemic was evidenced in the performance of 11th grade students on the 2021 Saber tests. They were the lowest results in the last seven years, with an average of 250 points out of 500.

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However, Jordy Romero, a teacher at Colegio Venecia, warned that “the teachers blame them for the poor results in the academic tests, but they do not look at the context in which the children live”.

Germán Barragán, general director of the Agency for Higher Education, Science and Technology ATENEA, said that work must be done on socio-emotional skills and level what has been left behind in the school system after the pandemic, with training alternatives, to respond to the labor market demands.

Throughout the summit, the panelists emphasized the urgency of guaranteeing a well-being environment for all children, adolescents and young people in the country.

innovation

The pandemic opened up great opportunities for digital acceleration. Current education experiences different teaching models that have allowed greater flexibility. Ángela Merchán, rector of the Los Libertadores University, that digital “we find multiple opportunities, especially in terms of accessibility.” Likewise, she stressed that the digital teacher is a reality, because “we have shown that we can play all roles: counselors, lawyers, parents. Whatever is needed to keep the educational process moving forward.”

For his part, Santiago Pinzón, vice president of Digital Transformation at Andi, stressed the need for a national policy of real bilingualism throughout the country, eliminating barriers to employment, such as professional cards, working on connectivity and internet access in colleges and public schools in the country, in addition to promoting computer training in educational institutions.

In education we have the biggest challenge and that is to change the mentality of many actors in the ecosystem who may be antibodies to this transformation.“, he claimed.

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Camilo Noguera, director of the Institute of Moral Sciences and Liberal Arts of the Sergio Arboleda University, warned that the world is currently experiencing an educational, ethical and biotechnological crisis that has led to a cognitive crisis, on which work must begin. “For the first time in history, studies reveal that the brain has stopped making progress in its good areas and is atrophying them. We are facing societies with a decrease in their health in cognitive abilities”.

The day concluded with the conference of Marvin Berkowitz, psychologist from the State University of New York and Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from Wayne State University,

Who referred to the importance of educating the character of students to have a better country. “Character is complex, it functions as a moral agent. It includes values, emotions, skills, identity. Character must be educated holistically”, he explained and added that “when students feel that they are seen, appreciated and valued, they work harder. It all depends on the context.”

Likewise, he argued that educational models have prioritized that education is to teach facts, data or concepts to students, and that academic performance is the main objective. We have become obsessed with schools being simply college preparatory and workforce development institutions”. The foregoing, he concluded, has left aside a more relevant factor for the construction of better societies and citizens: moral character.

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