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CIES2019/Day 1: The IBE-UNESCO leads thinking on sustainable development in global curricula...

Quite proud to be a co-sponsor and sustaining partner of CIES 2019, the IBE-UNESCO led rigorous dialogue on the role of curriculum in ensuring and sustaining the relevance of education to sustainable development.
For the first day of the conference, the IBE-UNESCO convened two parallel sessions and one highlighted plenary session covering Neuroscience and education, the development-relevance of education and learning, and early reading education, respectively.
With an early start at 08:00, the first parallel session was chaired and moderated by IBE-UNESCO Director, Dr. Mmantsetsa Marope. The session focused on the potential contribution of neuroscience research in addressing the global learning crisis. 
Engaging presentations were made by IBE-UNESCO Senior Fellows:  Professors Paul Howard-Jones, University of Bristol, Vivian Regiosa-Crespo, Cuban Centre for Neuroscience, Jiaxian Zhou, East China Normal University and Alejandro Maiche, University of Uruguay. Collectively they explored the role of teacher beliefs, neural processing speed, face-to-face engagement and cognitive assessment and monitoring in advancing effective learning. A lively round-table discussion included 40 delegates who shared their research findings in neuroscience, and how they may be applied to inform quality education.
Later in the morning, the IBE led an engaging plenary discussion on ‘Sustaining the development-relevance of education and learning’, with a full auditorium of delegates from around the world. A distinguished panel of four speakers presented compelling cases for the central role that education must play in the achievement of all of UNESCO’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for 2030, in particular goals 4.1 & 4.7.
Hans D’Orville, former Assistant Director-General of UNESCO, highlighted the breadth and depth of UNESCO’s SDG aspirations and the crucial need for education and training to prepare young people to cope and thrive in increasingly complex economies and societies. He stressed the centrality of the IBE, as UNESCO’s specialist category-I institute for curriculum, in leading and facilitating international cooperation to shape the future responsiveness of global curricula, teaching, learning and assessment.
In a spirited and engaging presentation, Dr. Mmantsetsa Marope, Director of the IBE, stressed that the drivers of change are crucial, and the pressing need for curricula to have mechanisms for constant self-renewal. She described the interactive consultative process that the IBE employed to develop a global normative framework for competency-based curricula. She stressed the need for curricula to remain flexible and adaptive to the unknown demands of the 4th Industrial Revolution, centred on the development of artificial intelligence.
Conrad Hughes, Principal of the International School in Geneva, followed by describing the main aspects of the IBE normative curriculum framework and outlined how he and his staff are working collaboratively and creatively to implement the framework, giving his students the best possible chance to thrive in a rapidly changing world.
The inputs stimulated many challenging questions from the audience, moderated by Anthony Mackay. A lively discussion followed with many useful insights into the future of learning.
The final session of the day featured three research-based inputs by contributors to a new IBE publication entitled ‘Improving Early Literacy Outcomes: Curriculum Learning and Assessment’. Peter Afflebach from the University of Maryland highlighted research into the importance that student self-efficacy, motivation and engagement plays in helping children learn to read. Nic Spaull, Stellanbosch University, South Africa highlighted the extent to which research into reading is primarily related to Germanic languages and the very limited amount of research - only around 6-7% - in other languages spoken by millions of people. Rounding off the session, Beatrix Diuk from the National Scientific and Research Council, Buenos Aires, presented some uplifting insights into the comparative success of a reading program that is working successfully with both teachers and parents.
Complementary comments on the pertinence of the plenary, the rigour of the presentations, and engagement of participants are still flowing in from the many delegates that attended.
Stay tuned for highlights from Day 2 of CIES 2019!