31 May 2021

The future of education with the Philanthropic Leadership Platform: Russia-Europe

The fourth session of the second edition of the Philanthropic Leadership Platform: Russia-Europe, undertaken in partnership with the Vladimir Potanin Foundation, saw 20 participants explore the future of education in a webinar on 20 May with a number of guest speakers, including a PLP: Russia-Europe alumnus. It provided an opportunity to discuss how the philanthropic community can help address the learning crisis brought on by the pandemic and support solutions previously considered difficult or impossible to implement.

The session featured three guest speakers, Seçil Kınay, Vehbi Koç Foundation and PLP: Russia-Europe alumnus; Mert Çetinkaya, ATÖLYE and, Zeynep Aykul Yavuz, ATÖLYE. The three speakers conducted a joint presentation on design thinking and how to apply it when dealing with complex issues like education, along with insights on the Teachers Network design thinking process and methodology. Additionally, the speakers drew focus to the opportunities appearing for the learning community post-COVID-19.

Mert Çetinkaya started the webinar presenting ATÖLYE’s approach to design for complexity. ATÖLYE collaborates with various organisations to build impactful design projects and develop and implement ambitious social impact and social innovation projects, such as the Teachers Network project.

Through the example of the One Laptop per Child initiative, Mert highlighted that when designing a project, one needs to first of all understand the human need for the project, before considering the more advanced aspects such as the cost and the required technology. This had critically, been a missing component of the project and contributed towards its eventual failure. Mert then showcased the Kolibri project as a better example of project design, highlighting how its inclusion of the human need’s aspect helped it to achieve success.

Seçil Kınay spoke on the new normal facing learning and tackled the issues of how the Teachers Network adapted to the situation, as well as the opportunities and trends coming in the wake of COVID-19. Moreover, due to the fact that the Teachers Network was built on human-centred design methodology and already incorporated the changes brought on by COVID-19 to working styles, such as the use of digital tools, it adapted easier and more efficiently to the changes brought about by the pandemic. Throughout the pandemic, the Teachers Network experienced steady growth on its digital platforms, with more teachers and schools seeking to join the ecosystem, to fulfil their ideas and their willingness to create new things.

Zeynep Aykul Yavuz rounded off discussions on how challenges can be transformed into opportunities by philanthropic leaders, especially in the field of education, as COVID-19 has shown that the current education system is not crisis-proof and it needs to be reformed. In order to do so, teachers need to be empowered to adapt to rising challenges by using technology and new methodologies in their teaching.

For further information contact Sevda Kilicalp.