President ECOSF invited as a Keynote Speaker at the International Science Education Forum held virtually during Global Smart Education Conference by Beijing Normal University

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Beijing Normal University (BNU) in collaboration with the Ministry of Education of People's Republic of China and National Engineering Laboratory for Cyberlearning and Intelligent Technology (CIT) and other partners organized the International Science Education Forum on August 22, 2020. This forum was organized along the sidelines of Global Smart Education Conference 2020. It was jointly sponsored by the Research Institute of Science Education and the Smart Learning Institute of Beijing Normal University.

The objective of this conference was to pool global resources and strength for promoting smart education, forge high-end platforms for exchange and cooperation, facilitate innovative integration of intelligent technologies and education and promote equity in education and personalized growth.

Dr. Lee Yee Cheong, Commissioner of UN Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development, President of the Academy of Engineering and Technology of the Developing World and Professor Dong Yan Cheong, Vice President of Research Institute of Science Education of Beijing Normal University co-chaired the Forum. Dr. Lee Yee Cheong emphasized the STEM education must not emphasize only physical science, engineering, technology and mathematics, it must place equal importance to social sciences so as to instill some age-old virtues to the young. He further said that “these virtues are: study hard and work hard; spend frugally and save for a rainy day; respect elders and authority, take care of extended family and community"

Professor Dong Yan said “the development of science education, especially the development of science education in K-12 stage, is the basis of improving a country's science and technology ability.” She further mentioned that COVID-19 has made people more aware of the importance of science and technology.

Prof. Manzoor H. Soomro, the President of the ECOSF made his keynote presentation on “Blended Education System- a post COVID-19 need for the World”. In his presentation, Prof. Soomro said that COVID-19 pandemic has adversely affected education around the globe, however with the help of ICTs many regions have shifted to digital platforms for delivery of education. However, online education has its own challenges especially in developing countries due to lack of adequate ICT infrastructure, he added. Electricity and internet access have been the biggest challenge for effectively imparting the formal education across the developing world. With non-availability of reliable connectivity, it is difficult to follow the methods and models being practiced by the developed countries.

Prof. Soomro emphasized the need blended or hybrid education system in the wake of the on-going global pandemic but also considering the natural disasters faced by the world community. He said that blended learning opportunities incorporate both face-to-face and online learning. He stressed that considering our challenges, a blended learning model would be suitable for us. Since the students of today would need to work in a future where AI is the reality, it’s important that educational institutions expose students to and use the technology. President ECOSF shared that Inquiry Based Science Education (IBSE) as a Pedagogical approach in combination with Emerging Technologies would bring extraordinary results. He also shared the activities of the Foundation.

Professor Jim Slotta from the University of Toronto shared his views on stem teaching and learning, including important issues in stem education and some promising new directions, such as assessment, and the application of new technologies and new teaching strategies in stem education in Canada. He demonstrated how universities and schools as well as industry work together to nurture entrepreneurship thinking among the youth.

During the Forum, Ms. Natalia Amelina, Senior National Project Officer in Education, UNESCO IITE, Prof. Dr. Zehra Altinay GAZI from the Near East University in Cyprus and Ms. Wendy Sadler from Cardiff University, UK, also shared their analysis of various aspects of education in post-COVID-19 scenario.

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