MGSE hosts UNESCO MGIEP roundtable

Last week the Melbourne Graduate School of Education had the honour of hosting the UNESCO Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development (MGIEP) three-day roundtable series. The purpose was to explore key findings from the International Science and Evidence based Education (ISEE) Assessment Report, to prompt policy discussion and recommendations to improve education systems.

The highly successful roundtable discussions had already occurred in Dubai, Montreal and London, the fourth in line being Melbourne.

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The ISEE-A report was launched in March 2022 in Paris by the UNESCO MGIEP. It sought to provide science and evidence to Reimagine Education in a world of increasing complexity, uncertainty and precarity. An important insight of the report was the need to repurpose ‘education to cultivate human flourishing’.

Human flourishing is the process of realising one’s potential and is closely related to wellbeing. In conversation with UNESCO MGIEP director, Dr Anantha Duraiappah, he described human flourishing as an “an anchoring concept” of the report and the force behind “starting a movement” in global education.

The roundtables were commenced with a welcome by MGSE Dean, Professor Jim Watterston. Followed by an introduction speech from Dr Duraiappah, who described the motivation for the initiative, spurred out of his “surprise” that there was an absence of global scientific and evidence-based reports in the education sector.

The first panel discussion on human flourishing, included MGSE’s Deputy Dean, Professor Lindsay Oades, a coordinating lead author on the chapter examining human flourishing in the report.

The panelists probed the audience on the purpose of education – to build human capital or to build human flourishing? Key themes included encouraging human potential and how education relationality, between student and teacher, can influence learning outcomes.

Other highlights from panel discussions included exploring the compatibility between assessments and student potential. MGSE’s Professor Sandra Milligan from the Assessment Research Centre, facilitated a vibrant conversation. Dr Duraiappah stated he was “very happy to see that such an initiative is ongoing in Australia”, when reflecting on the assessment research at MGSE.

Day two comprised of MGSE Graduate students collaborating with the UNESCO MGIEP working groups to develop policy and research publications.

Finally, day three facilitated discussion around moving from Sustainable Development Goals to Sustainable Flourishing Goals (SDG to SFG). Dr Duraiappah praised the innovative approaches explored in the roundtable and its value in the future:

"We use this as a platform to jump-start a discussion on what’s beyond [sustainable development goals] 2030"

Overall, it was a successful event filled with enriching discussions, propelled by enthusiastic and inspiring leading experts.

MGSE would like to extend its thanks to Professor Lindsay Oades (MGSE Deputy Dean), Dr Anantha Duraiappah (Director, UNESCO MGIEP) and Nandini Chatterjee Singh (National Project Officer, UNESCO MGIEP) for helping facilitate this event and we look forward to the outcomes from this exciting project beyond 2030.

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Genevieve Siggins