“To ensure a better future for the next generation, it is imperative that the world’s educators – and the powerful insights from the diverse classrooms that they bring – are placed at the heart of our global and local education reform efforts,” say Nafisa Shekhova and Dr Andrew Cunningham, Global Co-Leads for Education at the Aga Khan Foundation (AKF).
In this interview, Nafisa and Andrew discuss key strategies that AKF and its partners are pursuing to continue supporting teacher leadership, innovation and agency in some of the most challenging learning environments and reflect on how we, as a global education community, can do more to address the global learning crisis together if we work in greater partnership with the world’s educators.
In response to a global crisis in education, the UN Secretary General hosted the Transforming Education Summit (TES) at the UN General Assembly last year. It provided a unique opportunity to elevate education to the top of the global political agenda and to mobilise action, ambition, solidarity and solutions to recover pandemic-related learning losses and sow the seeds to transform education in a rapidly changing world. What was your take on the Summit?
Dr Andrew Cunningham (AC): The Summit was a historic moment for the global education community. We were given the political permission by all UN members to “think outside of the box” about how best to drive innovation in and through education, especially for the most marginalised learners. We were thrilled, therefore, to see that our flagship education programme, Schools2030, was selected by the UN as a globally recognised solution at the TES to advance teacher leadership, innovation and agency.
As we know, most educators remain excluded from education reform efforts. This was different at Schools2030’s TES session, where a Minister of Education and teacher from the same country, alongside other Schools2030 partners, shared the same global stage and outlined key strategies about how best to advance holistic learning outcomes through bottom-up rather than top-down teacher-led innovations. How might we support more moments like this?