All it takes is a blank wall and ideas come to life.
This was how SEAMEO INNOTECH revolutionized their 14th International Conference held in Quezon City, Philippines. With the theme, “A better future for every learner in Southeast Asia,” participants experienced an innovative and deliberate approach in problem solving and decision making – the Open Space Technology.
The two-day conference from December 8-9, 2015 empowered the youth, educators, and development leaders to speak out their thoughts on issues they are passionate about, specifically on improving the quality of education in the region. With 150 delegates representing 15 countries, more than 80 topics were created (which eventually was narrowed down to 53 topics) filling the place with dynamic and interactive conversation sessions.
Conversations focused on the need for quality education, improvement of school facilities, challenges in learning the English language, technology in education, and the like. Other issues discussed include equal educational opportunities for the out-of-school youth (OSY), children with disabilities, and children with special needs. Life skills, career readiness, and employability skills also caught the attention of the group.
After all the discussions made and action plans established, 7 major topics were selected and drafted for the Youth Education Agenda. These are: (1) ICT in Education, (2) Values Education for 21st Century Learners, (3) Youth ASEAN Integration, (4) Improving Leadership Skills, (5) 21st Century Teaching Learning in Global Setting, (6) How can we improve health and nutrition including sanitation facilities in schools, and (7) Equal Access of Out-of-School Youth, Adults and Indigenous People for Quality Education and Improving Life Skills and Work Readiness for Out-of-School Youth.
Key officials from the education sector have been invited to listen and respond to the major agendas drafted by the participants. Dr. Steve Anzalone, Senior Vice President of Education Development Center (EDC) applauded the unique albeit “chaotic” process of Open Space Technology. Commissioner Earl Saavedra of the National Youth Commission (NYC) highlighted institutionalization and sustainability through capacity building, advocacy programs, policies and convergence. Secretary Armin Luistro of the Department of Education challenged the participants to go beyond what the government can offer and initiate change within themselves.
“What are you willing to sacrifice for others to live and survive?”
This was just one of the many questions Secretary Luistro raised during the conference. The real question, however, is how the participants will bring home these issues and translate them into a vision that can bring about transformative change in other people’s lives.