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Reflection from the RECI Education Forum 2024


What is your 15% solution?


by Carol Switzer


20 June 2024. This question concluded the RECI Education Forum 2024, in which Paeradigms participated today. Attended by about 60 people from nearly 20 different countries including Nepal, Haiti, Uganda, Moldova, Benín, Albania, as well as Switzerland, the forum picked up on the themes from RECI's November Forum, focusing on the educational gaps challenging the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4).




The question posed to participants – what can you do tomorrow morning, very concretely, assuming each of us has a 15% chance of having an impact? – sparked several responses:

  • Introduce mother tongue education to preserve cultural and language diversity.

  • Follow Gandhi's advice to "be the change," starting with changing personal attitudes and patriarchal frameworks.

  • Network more to leverage the strengths and advantages of others.

  • Make training and events accessible to diverse rights holders.

  • Engage in continuous advocacy for sustainable educational funding.


Diverse Themes and Lively Discussions

The forum covered ten different arguments in English and French over the course of the day, addressing topics such as "How to avoid 'killing the culture through education' in formal education" and "Human Rights (e.g., LGBT rights) in a cultural context." Parallel sessions allowed smaller groups to hear the diverse perspectives of participants from around the world.


Open Space Methodology

A particularly interesting aspect of the forum was the use of the "open space" methodology to manage the event.


"Open Space" is a technique for running meetings where participants create and manage the agenda themselves. This approach allows participants to take ownership of the issues and collaboratively develop solutions. It was founded on the observation that the most productive exchanges at conferences often occur during coffee breaks, when people decide for themselves whom to talk to and what to discuss.


Using the "open space" method in a forum for seasoned educational professionals was a bold move. RECI Executive Director Beatrice Schulter and Communications Officer, Nadine Bernasconi introduced this approach to the RECI network at the November Forum 2023, and it proved to be a great success. Bringing it to an online environment was certainly a challenge, but it worked!


Participant Feedback

Paeradigms Assistant Project Manager Jessica Jossias, who joined the forum from Mozambique, was enthusiastic. She remarked, "It gives the opportunity for the participants to raise other topics that are relevant to the discussion and creates space for inclusivity and diversity of approaches. It removes the pressure from the moderator and the participants about how, what, and when things are going to happen. All contributions are valid. There is nothing I did not like about it because it is really straight to the point and improves time-keeping and the organised structure to share knowledge during and after the discussion."


Conclusion

The RECI Education Forum 2024 highlighted the potential of the open space methodology not only for events, but as a tool that could support the shift in educational structures and frameworks (such as flexible pathways) that were discussed in the forum.



 


 

 

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