What is ELS ?
Why an Egypt Learning Society?
In their book “Creating a Learning Society” Stiglitz and Greenwald argued that the successful countries of the future will be those that encourage citizens to learn from others in absolutely everything that they do. They argue that the learning process will lead to world class standards being achieved and these high standards will drive growth, development and social progress across society. A learning society is a key concept in building a Smart Nation which will fully understand and deliver on a country’s needs and plans for the future. In the 1960s South Korea and Burkina Faso were both low performing economies. South Korea adopted an approach to doing business where they learnt from others in everything they did. Burkina Faso did not. One has increased the size of its economy by 36 fold but the other by over 200. Guess which is which. With this rapid and sustainable economic development in mind, Imagine Education have been contracted to work with the President’s Specialized Councils in Egypt to help take the idea of an Egypt Learning Society and map out what needs to be in place to make such a concept a reality. The first task was to put a plan in place that could help identify the key elements of the way forward and how a Learning Society approach fits with other priorities. The Egypt Learning Society, or ELS, will need to develop the sorts of behaviours in citizens that will help them collaborate with others and make sure that they are able to learn from each other in all they do. This means that new communities of like-minded people will be built and systems will need to be put in place to help these communities to collaborate. This set of elements, the behaviour elements, add value and balance to the skills development that provide the Knowledge Capital of the country.
Starting with Educators
The Egypt Learning Society is using teachers as its catalyst for change. This is why the teacher community in our case study is called Teachers First. At the heart of Teachers First is a flexible and personalised professional framework which describes the behaviours that make world class teachers. This framework was designed by a group of international educators and then tuned to the needs of Egypt. In schools, Communities of Practice have been established and the target is to reach an initial group of 10,000 teachers from across the whole country. Using the latest mobile technology to capture and reward incremental improvement through a collaborative assessment model is critical to the success of Teachers First. Imagine Education has deployed its Point of Learning system called Lengo for this purpose. These teachers work with at least 1 million children so the impact of improved teacher performance on learning will be huge.
Once the teacher community has adopted the Learning Society approach, the focus will shift to other professional sectors. Working in tandem with other initiatives funded by the President’s Specialized Councils, Imagine Education will continue to support the growth of the country’s people who will, in turn, build the economic capacity of the country.