Institute for Global Education Diplomacy: Exploring Innovations in Education

Sonaly Patel

Last week, the Association for Childhood Education International (ACEI) brought educators, development practitioners, and government representatives together at the Institute for Global Education Diplomacy to explore the emerging concept of “education diplomacy” and its relevance to the future of the education sector.  Under the many threads of education diplomacy falls “intellectual flexibility,” the idea that education actors must be open to new and creative ideas in ever-changing contexts to effectively respond to the complex education challenges of today’s world.  To give attendees a window into the novel ideas changing the sector, ACEI invited CEI's Kavita Hatipoglu along with Chiedza Mufunde of A World at School and Courtney White from World Savvy to share their insights on the session’s muse-worthy title “How are innovations in education advancing education agendas locally and globally?”

Kavita opened the session by describing CEI's vast database of 600 pro-poor education innovations globally, and its initiatives to aggregate the broader picture of emerging trends and models in the innovations landscape.  As an example, she zoomed in on CEI’s collection of ECD innovations and the emerging themes and models identified across 80 innovations.  Themes included community and caregiver engagement, teacher training, holistic programming spanning multiple sectors like health and nutrition, alignment with national government policies and government engagement, and an emphasis on play.  Kavita also identified promising models in the ECD sector including chains of ECD centers, mobile ECD centers serving nomadic communities, and capacity building for ECD delivery.

(Pictured below from left to right: Courtney White, World Savvy; Chiedza Mufunde, A World At School; Kavita Hatipoglu, CEI; Tata Mbugua, ACEI)

Complementary to CEI’s cross-program insights, Chiedza and Courtney provided insider perspectives on the manifestation of innovation within their own organizations and their ripple effects on education both globally and locally. Chiedza shared the background and initiatives of A World at School, a global education campaign that unites the voice of global stakeholders and citizens to call on governments to fulfill their mandates of universal primary education for all children.  Through creating innovative tools like the MDG 2 Global Education Scorecard for greater transparency, championing novel initiatives like the Safe Schools Initiative to break down barriers to education, and launching the unprecedented global Up4School global petition campaign to increase multi-stakeholder pressure on governments, AWAS is finding new ways, and often using technology in these efforts, to push Millennium Development Goal #2 towards fruition. 

Courtney's organization, World Savvy, is taking a systems approach to nurturing all youth, regardless of background, to become a generation of global citizens.  Working at the local level and viewing a school as a holistic system, World Savvy works with all stakeholders within a school to inculcate a shift towards “global competence,” globally-minded teaching and learning. World Savvy’s approach reflects the nuances of innovation, which it shows can be a mix of new and old; its tools of choice, teacher training and school consulting, are traditional methods used in new ways.

The session closed with a few key notes on the considerations of specific cultural contexts in the innovation process and innovation pulling as much from the new as from the old.  Presented with broad brushstrokes of the innovations landscape and deep dives into two very different innovative organizations, the audience was left with much to ponder on the multiplicity of innovations advancing both local and global education agendas and innovation’s significance to their own contributions to the education sector.

If, like the session’s audience, you are pondering which education innovations you could learn from, we encourage you to browse the CEI database for your topics of interest.

To watch a recording of the session, click here.

Sonaly Patel is a Program Associate at the Results for Development Institute (R4D), where she facilitates connections and scale opportunities for CEI’s database of programs.

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