The role of teachers and teaching is evolving rapidly in the 21st century. Therefore, the main focus of our ICEFIL Organization is to help make sense of this with and to our teaching community.
We facilitate our consortium members to co-create through exploratory research and then implement their solutions through new business models to ensure (future) teachers are better trained and more empowered to deliver next generation teaching and learning.
At the moment, ICEFIL is fast-approaching another milestone this August when we will host our annual conference. It is worth remembering that we are first and foremost a collaborative consortium devoted to delivering innovative products and services developed and field-tested for education communities such as universities, school boards, research groups, UN organizations, international NGO’s plus others.
One of our first priorities has been to establish innovative learning solutions for refugee education to address the ever-growing global challenge of education in emergencies - not only in Africa but also here in Europe and the MENA region.
Our 1st project has seen the delivery of our Africa Mission 2020 program in which we make use the vast array of teacher training skills, technology and tools available within our consortium to deliver innovative learning to teach refugee teachers in refugee camps in Eastern Africa.
One year into our program, I am humbled by the growing immensity of the challenges connected with education in emergencies. Although all partners involved in this project are leaders in their respective domain, the actual delivery has forced us to redefine our approach to using innovative learning in educating refugee teachers for secondary schools there.
Nevertheless, and despite the challenges experienced (from extreme dust and heat, the lack of facilities, computers and internet connectivity plus the scarcity of curriculum contents for secondary schools there), some 120 refugee teachers will finish our 4-month innovative learning program this August and we expect another cohort to complete a similar program by the end of the next academic year.
Unfortunately, (and perhaps equally important), I am also appreciating the remarkable amount of time, positive energy and financial resources lost (or displaced) because of the inherent challenges we each face in reaching out to either get help and/or support one another.
Despite the best intentions among our own institutions and those present in Eastern Africa, I am struck by the stark difficulty we seem to have to share and co-create. Perhaps this is a reflection of the dichotomy we face in our efforts. Educational institutions in Europe and North America are so used to competing among themselves to accentuate their differences – and this may hamper our efforts in bringing real solutions to the camps in Africa.
I am struck with the reality that if we and every other Institutions involved there want to make a sustainable positive difference there, we need to work together. Otherwise we might be doomed to repeat the same mistakes many of our predecessors have made so far. This may result in our disappearance in the encroaching heat and dust just as they did with equally great ideas and ambitions.
To ensure this does not happen, ICEFIL has taken a different approach to our involvement there which demands for us to reach out and share to co-create and co-deliver what we know with others who have similar ambitions and objectives.
Consequently, we have established two key metrics to gauge the level of positive difference our Africa Mission 2020 program can make: scalability and sustainability. In order to achieve this goal, we need to reach out and establish partnerships with others (both local and international) working towards the same objectives.
In this respect I am pleased that in addition to UNESCO and UNHCR, we now also have established a growing consortium of key partners within Eastern Africa to work with us on this global challenge for refugee education. Each of these partners will be providing a content ‘blog’ in successive months to share ideas and plans on our mission there.
Please join us at our annual conference on 31st August here in Utrecht, The Netherlands which will be focused on refugee education!