Dijana Pejić, director of the Genesis Project, participated in the largest World Innovation Summit for Education. The summit was held in Doha (Qatar) from the 14th to 16th November. Dijana was one of over two thousand participants from hundreds of countries. At the Summit, Dijana was most inspired by the use of experiential learning in schools around the world, and believes that this method should be applied in BiH, because it implies the greater engagement of students in the learning process and allows mastering new knowledge and new skills through experience and practical work, not only through classical learning in the classroom.
What is WISE Summit and how were you invited to attend the Summit?
WISE 2017 is the world innovation summit in education. This year’s Summit was held under the theme of “Co-Exist, Co-Create: Learning to Live and Work Together”. Thanks to the fact that the Genesis Project was in the final selection for the 2016 WISE Award in Innovation in Education (http://www.wise-qatar.org/2016-wise-awards-finalists-revealed), the Qatar Foundation, which is the organizer and main donor of the WISE summit sent the invitation for participation. In 2016, the Genesis Project was included among the 15 finalists from 13 countries, which were selected in the competition from around the world as the best examples of good practice in innovative approaches to education and fostering cooperation, for the WISE Education Award. The WISE Education Award, founded in 2010, is a worldwide recognition for an individual or team for outstanding contribution to any field of education and is always awarded at the Summit.
Who attended the Summit and what was the program like?
The summit was attended by more than 2,000 people from over 100 countries around the world. Participants of the summit are the creators of change, innovators in the field of education, decision-makers and influential experts who gathered at the Summit to discuss the challenges and opportunities of education in the era of significant political, economic and technological changes. Since its inception (2009), the WISE Summit brings together different active participants from education to explore and exchange ideas and cooperate in a creative action in education. At WISE, the teachers, decision makers, and influential experts from all areas of the public and private sector are meeting in a collegial environment to exchange their experience in addressing the educational development challenges. The WISE Summit has become an international multi-sectoral conference devoted to building the future of education through empowerment and partnership. It is a unique opportunity for all participants to engage in important debates on a variety of educational challenges in order to achieve the goal of a global community advocating to build the strong, successful and secure societies through education.
What is the most interesting information you heard at the Summit?
I found the discussion “Education in the world after the truth” most impressive. We discussed the fact that the children are now growing up in the “world after the facts”, or in “the world after the truth”. This primarily refers to how much time the children spend on the internet where a large number of false and unverified information is offered. We have tried to find the answer to the question: “How should education respond to the challenges of this “world after the truth” and how to strengthen fundamental values and social cohesion? This panel discussion has caused the greatest attention among the delegates at the Summit, and they have taken the opportunity to ask constructive and open questions to the panel discussants.
What inspired you most when we talk about innovation in education?
The lecture on the application of experiential learning in schools around the world was particularly inspirational to me. Experiential Learning is intensively applied in schools in Doha (Qatar), but also in many other countries around the world. At the Summit the experimental zone of experiential learning was presented to us, in which the students aged 12 to 14 and their teachers, from the school in Doha, practically presented to all interested participants how to apply the experiential learning. We learned that it develops children’s creativity through learning and collaboration. It would be great if we could transfer the methods of experiential learning into the schools of Bosnia and Herzegovina since these methods lead to a greater engagement of students in the learning process and enable mastering new material and new skills through experience and practical work, not just through classical learning, which is reduced to memorizing facts and data without guidelines on practical application and without activity.
When it comes to education, can you tell us, after this Summit, what is education system in Bosnia and Herzegovina like?
The education system in BiH still relies on the traditional way of learning, more on theoretical rather than on a practical basis. It is far from the norm in developed countries where the students acquire knowledge through practical education. The system must be reformed to adapt to the real needs of students, especially their professional development. Problem of the BiH education is also the amount and the complexity level of material that is not adapted to the age of children. We in the Genesis Project ensure that new knowledge and skills are conveyed to the children in an appropriate and interactive way. One of the educational methods that we intensively use in our work is the theatre performances. We perform educational, interactive puppet performances for young children of the elementary school age and educational, interactive dramatic performances for children of older primary school age. Shifts in the level of newly acquired knowledge and attitudinal changes are significant and proven through evaluative activities. This is an excellent method that can easily be implemented in every classroom across the country.
Will you be able to apply certain knowledge that you adopted at the Summit in your work?
Yes, the Summit was an excellent opportunity to learn and to acquire knowledge about the innovative methods in educational systems around the world. Experiential learning is slowly being introduced into the education systems in BiH and the Genesis Project intends to be part of this process.
How useful are these summits?
The Summit was an excellent opportunity for learning and networking with similar organizations in the world. We had the opportunity to exchange experiences and learn new lessons. Furthermore, these gatherings are an opportunity to see what kind of educational problems are encountered by more developed countries than us, but also the countries whose development is lagging behind the development of BiH. This Summit was a great opportunity for the Genesis Project to establish partnerships with developed and large organizations from around the world, with the aim of contributing to the BiH’s educational development, which would be appropriate, inspirational, creative and practical.