Review of EIC2018 in London: Educate youth for their future, not our past

The EIC2018 saw attendees from around the world gather to discuss the future of education.

Andreas Schleicher, the Director of the Education Directorate at the OECD, started the day with a global perspective on education trends. He said the last PISA assessment of learning outcomes in science was in 2006, when the world was a very different place. Since then, technological innovation and disruption has accelerated. While digitalisation is democratising and empowering, but it could also be homogenising and disempowering.

He outlined that less than ten percent of global education initiatives are measured for their impact, a theme continued later in the day by Taimur Khan, former Partner and Co-Head of the Education practice at consultancy McKinsey & Company.

Taimur talked about what The Economist recently called “the most frenetic education reforms in the world”, across 10m students and 50,000 schools in the Punjab province of Pakistan. He discussed how he had applied unconventional learnings from the bottom-up, but also ensuring politicians at the top felt empowered to participate and actively support the process.

The highlight of the day was the EIC Debate on whether British education was losing its globally pre-eminent position. Dr Joanna Newman (Secretary-General, Association of Commonwealth Universites) and Nick Hilman (Director, HEPI) argued it was not, while Lord Karan Bilimoria CBE (Chancellor, University of Birmingham) and Thijs van Vugt (Director of Analytics, StudyPortals) argued that Brexit, a more hostile immigration rhetoric from Government, and international competition was eroding Britain’s position.

Much of the day focused on education innovation case studies from around the world. As we move away from a US-dominated world, to a multi-stakeholder global order, it’s worth noting there are 440,000 foreign students in China (with this number increasing at 10% a year). There are 30,000 foreign students in India, with the number having fallen in the last full year of data. Many of these are diaspora, from places like Britain, going back home, so to speak, to study.

The winner of the $1m Global Teacher Prize in 2017 was Canadian and in 2016 Palestinian. The Economist says the world’s most frenetic and ambitious education reforms are taking place in Pakistan, with astounding results.

But technology is already acting as a big disruptor in the education market. Martin Hamilton (Futurst, Jisc) highlighted how Udacity’s self-driving car nanodegree had 30,000 sign-ups within a few days in 2016. Sudip Roy (Robotics Process Automation) analysed how automation will soon catch up with the education sector, leading to dramatic cost reduction, alongside higher student satisfaction, quality, compliance and security.

Katarina Aleksić (Advisor to the Minister for eEducation, Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development, Serbia) spoke about her country’s innovation story, which makes deep use of digital to transform education, with computer science a compulsory subject from age 11.

There were several examples in the room of how innovative private sector companies are using some of these principles to train not just young people but adults. Star Certification are one such example, specialising in big data, cryptocurrency, cyber security and other fields, who identified a number of potential partners for their UK market entry at the EIC2018.

There were a number of important annoucements made on the day.

The International Skill Development Corporation (ISDC) launched a new innovative International Research & Teaching Excellence Framework (IRTEF). 

Bournemouth University launched its Global Talent in India report on the day. Leading Indian skills provider InSkills and a start-up UK skills provider announced a plan to develop international skills centres in the Indian states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, validated by NOCN.

The UK office for the Kolkata 4.0 Foundation, a not-for-profit initiative with a vision to create a networking platform for positive thinking on Kolkata in the Indian state of West Bengal, was launched. It’s first report focused on how academia, business and Government could work closely together to create an innovation ecosystem in Kolkata.

The next Education Innovation Conference will take place on 4th September 2018 in Bangalore, India. If you would like to attend, book a ticket by emailing today.