In 2020, the global COVID-19 pandemic fast tracked “transformations” in education, something that Global Peace Foundation has been working on for nearly a decade.  As nations shut down schools, the Global Peace Foundation responded swiftly, moving online to address the dramatically shifting educational landscape. Ongoing forums were held throughout the year in Kenya, Uganda, Paraguay, and the Philippines, shifting the conversation from the fear of a “lost year” and a never-ending list of challenges, to seizing the opportunity of an accelerated process to a new perspective on education. The forums drew stakeholders from all sectors of each nation: ministries of education, administrators, educators, students, parents, international agencies, and private sector participants such as Oracle and Microsoft. 

Here are some of the critical perspectives gained during those 2020 forums:

1. A child’s first school is the family. A child’s first teachers are their parents. 

The educational institutions across the world were faced with unique challenges that served to emphasize this idea more than ever before. Teachers, school administrations, and ministries of education had to rely on parents to support their children’s emotional, physical, and social well-being, while trying to find new ways to deliver instruction.

Educational institutions had to consider and include a key partner in education: a child’s parents and family.

2. Education is about the whole child.

As schools closed down, opportunities for home and community learning opened up. The new circumstances posed the question, “What does it mean to educate?”

What is the educational value of a child building self-worth and confidence in the family? What is the educational value of a child learning to communicate and build consensus among their siblings? What is the educational value of a child joining their parents in the kitchen to cook for the family? What is the educational value of a child taking part in income-generation at home?

There is a place for language and math literacy. But we found a need to teach character and emphasize values like resilience, resourcefulness, emotional intelligence, optimism and communication.

3. Education is a joint endeavor between the parents, family, community and school.

Even as we move into 2021, it is apparent that parents and teachers must work together to educate students.  Furthermore, supporting institutions, extended family, faith communities, counselors and psychologists, health care professionals, all play a critical role in the well-being and development of a child.

The Global Peace Foundation education forum series have given hope and support to communities, educators, and administrators around the world. School principals expressed that by attending these webinars, they became more well-rounded as leaders. They were inspired to become designers of learning, engaging students and families within a new reality of learning.

Transforming Education Webinar panelists hosted in Philippines

The forums have become a platform for discovery and real-time problem solving. GPF has provided a platform to facilitate a new kind of learning that requires intense collaboration with all the members of the community: schools, parents, businesses, students, and other organizations. 

In 2021, the Transforming Education Webinar Series will continue to explore the future of education in a pandemic and post-pandemic world with the addition of online capacity-building workshops, courses on online safety, character & creativity, youth resiliency, teacher competencies, leadership development, and regional summits.

The original post appears on Global Peace Foundation. Global Peace Foundation is an international non-sectarian, non-partisan, nonprofit organization, which promotes an innovative, values-based approach to peacebuilding, guided by the vision of One Family under God.  GPF engages and organizes a global network of public and private-sector partners who develop community, national, and regional peace building models as the foundation for ethical and cohesive societies. Dr. Hyun Jin Preston Moon is founder and chairman of the Global Peace Foundation.