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‘Promoting Transparent Multi-stakeholder Commitments at All Levels Is Central to Improving Equity & Inclusion’



On Wednesday, April 12, World Bank’s education economics expert Cristian Aedo will present at the XVIII April International Academic Conference on Economic and Social Development in a section addressing global experience and best practice in advancing national education systems. In an interview ahead of his presentation, Cristian spoke about the role of open and visionary multi-stakeholder cooperation in better tackling equity & inclusion agendas.

What cross-institutional cooperation formats (state – education – business, etc.) do you believe are the most expedient for Russia to focus on in seeking equity & inclusion improvements?

Recent international comparative studies, including PISA, demonstrate that the equity & inclusion agenda is still relevant for Russia. These comprehensive issues need to be placed at the center of the analytical work and policy dialog between the public and private sectors as well as federal and regional stakeholders. Regular and more transparent multi-party discussions and consultations shall serve as groundwork to achieve better streamlined visions of the inputs required, implementation scenarios, and expected results. Ultimately, this will allow for inclusive, data-supported, and result-driven policymaking in this important area.

How should local learning settings – namely those in less privileged communities – co-work and innovate to attain more sizeable equity & inclusion gains from within?

Issues with inclusion and inequity certainly tend to have visible negative effects at the local level. It is vital to encourage networking and cooperation between neighboring schools, private educational centers, research hubs, authorities and local communities in order identify and discuss the most pressing issues, and work together towards developing appropriate solutions tailored to the local context. At the same time, the importance of appropriate communication channels and feedback is by no means limited to the community context alone. Open and effective liaison with federal-level agencies will be needed to provide central authorities with relevant information, attract political attention to urgent issues, and request targeted support when appropriate. Raising awareness of community education challenges and complications is essentially about ensuring better aligned two-way communication.  

— Digital learning appears to be a great vehicle to foster equity and opportunity in education and beyond, but what are transformation and upgrade imperatives for Russia in this respect from the standardization and recognition standpoint?  

In my view, digital learning formalization is something we should really be cautious about, as excessive formalization could easily undermine the entire rationale and educational power of such flexible learning vehicles as collaborative learning platforms, online research instruments, educational videos and games, MOOCs, and other modern learning environments and tools. Accordingly, policymakers need to find and maintain a fine balance between standardization of ICT supported teaching and learning which ensures quality, and flexibility which facilitates creativity, critical thinking, open minded research, and social proactivity. The role of the teacher becomes crucial in this process of supporting and guiding students through modern learning pathways.