EFF_LogoEdu­ca­tion Fast For­ward (EFF), an orga­ni­za­tion, spon­sored jointly by Promethean and Cisco, that brings together lead­ing global experts and change agents from the world of edu­ca­tion to dis­cuss ‘the top­ics that mat­ter most’, wants to begin to change that by bring­ing together some artic­u­late and intel­li­gent voices from the world’s youth to dis­cuss issues that are rel­e­vant to young peo­ple them­selves and to their edu­ca­tion.

In July 2012, in the most recent of the five debates orga­nized by EFF to date, a group of elo­quent and youth­ful voices debated the topic ‘From Learner Voice to Global Peace’. The young peo­ple were located all across the globe and came together pri­mar­ily through the won­der of Telep­res­ence (TP), a high-definition video con­fer­enc­ing tech­nol­ogy. The dis­cus­sion that day was not only intel­li­gent and thought­ful: it was truly inspir­ing for every­one involved.

The full debate can be watched and lis­tened to on Promethean Planet.
And now, on the 28th of Jan­u­ary 2013, dur­ing the annual Edu­ca­tion World Forum, to be held in Lon­don, another group of excep­tional young peo­ple (includ­ing some of the voices from EFF5) will come together through the magic of TP to talk about ‘From Learner Voice to Emerg­ing Lead­ers’. Those of us involved in EFF have some hopes and expec­ta­tions of what might come out of the event, but we are also highly aware that there must be a gen­uine space in amongst our pre­sump­tions for the hopes and expec­ta­tions of the young peo­ple them­selves to come to the fore dur­ing and beyond the dis­cus­sion.

The pri­mary aim is twofold:

  • bring the voice of youth to the policy-makers’ table, to let the young peo­ple hear some views on the big issues, and to let them debate them openly and fully
  • to bring the policy-makers to the learn­ers’ table so that they have to face up to the issues that are crit­i­cal to the learn­ers before they make their pol­icy decisions

Issues such as the struc­ture of the cur­ricu­lum, how edu­ca­tion is deliv­ered (includ­ing dif­fer­ences in this across the world), the rel­e­vance of edu­ca­tion to their lives, how we might encour­age real change in the rela­tion­ships between peo­ple in edu­ca­tion sys­tems, seek­ing to realise the extra­or­di­nary value that can be sought by tack­ling education’s chal­lenges with peo­ple rather than doing it to them. We need all pol­icy mak­ers to take on board the knowl­edge that they are mak­ing deci­sions now that will affect the gen­er­a­tion ahead, and per­haps more than one gen­er­a­tion ahead.

And all of this will be hap­pen­ing across a truly inter­na­tional matrix of con­nec­tions, cross­ing coun­tries, cul­tures, and com­mu­ni­ties. I will be blog­ging again in the New Year with details of the date and time, and with infor­ma­tion about the key speak­ers, young and not-so-young, who will be lead­ing the discussion.