SEK students propose initiatives to reduce educational inequalities in their local contexts

SEK Education Group has organized the I International Student Congress. Empowering Young Voices for a Sustainable in which students from SEK-El Castillo (Madrid), SEK-Alborán (Almería), SEK-Dublin (Dublin, Ireland) and San José de las Vegas School (Medellín, Colombia) have joined the dialogues and conversations on education as a common good of society, capable of influencing the sustainable future of all humanity, as an immediate response to the UNESCO world report The Futures of Education. The congress took place from May 17 to 19 at the Camilo José Cela University, Madrid.

The students have been the protagonists in this congress. From the Global Citizenship and Social Innovation project, whose main objective is to involve different actors in reflections on the current situation of education and generate discussion from multiple perspectives, students have had conversations that, directly or indirectly, have led to propose initiatives in order to reduce existing inequalities.

In the initial phase of the project, students in the last grades of school and their teachers were invited to read the report and to reflect on the following questions: How do they imagine the world in 2050? How do you think education will be then? How do you think education should be in 2050 to contribute to a sustainable future for the planet?

The groups have used the learning methodology of the case method as a basis to develop innovative solutions through the practice of real situations. The students of each participating school were exposed to a real example related to a problem that affected educational success within their local community: integration of immigrant students in the schools of El Ejido (Almería); accentuation of social inequalities in educational quarantine (Madrid); difficulties of access to education for students with special educational needs in Ireland; and also for students in rural areas of Colombia.

Throughout the development of the project, the teacher observes the process and promotes reflection among the students when necessary, thus helping them to take the precise direction for the development and implementation of their action plan. Peer assessment is also promoted, in which students receive feedback from their peers during the process. From there, each group of students began to develop an innovative action plan to fully investigate the issue in their case. The main objective was to collect the multiple perspectives and positions of different agents at a local and global level with respect to each case and the problem in question.

To further publicize the project and the UNESCO report, the participating schools used different social media and channels informing the various local and international organizations of the launch and the objectives of the project. Additionally, the students have included in their action plans future virtual meetings with other young people from around the world through the Global Nomads platform, specially designed and managed by young people in search of answers on issues of global importance, with the aim of exposing the topic of each group, collect the different points of view, as well as promote the debate around the problem of your case.

In the last phase of the project, the students have implemented their action plan, consulting sources of information and pertinent organizations on their research topic, contrasting the positions of the different agents involved or related, in addition to promoting dialogues to create awareness about the need for reflection and action not only from the educational field, but from many other spheres that can have an impact on education and the future of the planet. Thus, for example, there are students who saw the need to contrast the different opinions on the subject through existing statistics, as well as participation in discussion forums, surveys or interviews.

All the evidence obtained during the process is collected in the shared journal of the project, to which the rest of the groups and teachers have access to contribute their observations and comments. In the next step, the student evaluates the relevance of the knowledge obtained from the selected information sources to explain or solve the problem or situation and, finally, identifies what has been learned from the reflection and how the new learning could be used in future situations, to apply it to the improvement of their action plan.

In the final phase of the congress, the students have had the opportunity to attend talks by experts in Entrepreneurship, Global Citizenship and Social Innovation, as well as to present their ideas and results of the process, with the objective of reaching agreements and innovative solutions among all that will later be shared with the relevant organizations and disseminated in different media. All this with the aim of obtaining the greatest number of voices to mark a path towards the transformation of education and support the movement promoted by UNESCO.

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