The world remains blanketed by COVID-19. This pandemic has fundamentally changed the development pattern of the world, and subjected individuals to higher uncertainty in the vicissitudes of life. Fortunately, we have not been plunged into a humanitarian crisis, thanks to the powerful tenacity of human civilization, the joint efforts of the society, and especially the cooperation in education, all of which have shed light on the solution to the global challenges.
In 2021, the entire education sector underwent an array of changes, leading to adjustments and reflection. We are continuing to explore optimization and transformation in our research and practice.
First of all, with a population of 420 million, the post-‘80s and post-‘90s have already become the mainstay of teachers and parents. They grew up with the fastest development of the Chinese economy and society, where they have aligned with the developed countries in both resources and visions. Compared with teachers and parents of the past generation, they have more and varied education concepts, competence, insight, and courage to teach, practice, and tap into the vast potentials of education.
Second, as China’s economic scale expands year by year, the educational resources per capita are rising along with it. In the meantime, the social evaluation system is more pluralistic, which gives education larger and more flexible room to navigate for change. Education is ready to upgrade and transform its infrastructure and future demographic structure.
In the past, we have mapped the future with a sense of reverence and better understood that education is a core sub-system of the social system which can be traced to the same origin. Now we are more aware that education needs to go beyond the established definition and cognition. The future of education lies in breaking through the rigid and short-sighted evaluation criteria to bring education back to its essence in a broader world.
Education, Beyond One Player
We frequently referred to the Education Ecosystem in 2021. Education, instead of being constrained in schools, should break the boundary of campuses and link diverse parties together.
We built rural music classrooms in Beichuan County, and developed innovative aesthetic curriculum partnering with Tencent Music through the “Music Garden Space”; we worked with LEGO Foundation on the study of “Learning through Play” in China and around the world; we organized Project Based Learning to diversify learning experiences and scenarios.
Also, we will try to break the boundaries of schools, families, and societies in the coming future, exploring possibilities of better collaboration of the three. Meanwhile, we are attempting to connect China with the world by cooperating with extensive social resources and international organizations, and incubating educational innovation in the community of a shared future for mankind.
Education, Beyond the Present
In the traditional education model, children were passive in study like products on assembly lines. Subject to the stereotyped evaluation criteria, the pushy yet somehow clueless parents and society repeatedly invest a mass of resources, keeping eyes on immediate outcomes. This will inevitably lead to tension between teachers and students, students' peer groups, and deterioration of the parent-child relationship.
In 2021, we spared great efforts in Competence-Based Education, hoping to find a more practical, intuitional and evaluable way to refine this competence-based model we have advocated for years.
In this regard, we made intensive studies concerning the underlying logic and model of competence-based education with educators from Peking University, Beijing Normal University, and Finland and scholars of all sectors, invited experts of different fields to discuss the future of the education ecosystem at the Yidan Education Forum, and conducted researches on competence-based education with experts and scholars from home and abroad.
Education ecosystem rebuilding and nurturing should orient to the future, with an extended sense and stronger resilience of education. Educational studies and actions are not an immediately effective approach, but a long and steady process that requires in-depth consideration, practical trial and action with no fear of failure.
Education, Beyond Technology
When talking about educational innovation, we mostly link it with technology. The rapid development of the digital economy seems to push technology forward to a higher level. Technology indeed brings us more possibilities in time and space with the amazing scale of digitalization of global quality educational resources, and more models and contents of new education. However, all we are exploring about competence-based education or education ecosystem is ultimately for "human." The possibility of the world today, better or worse, depends on human actions.
It reminded us of 1969 when humans landed on the moon for the first time. The Apollo Guidance Computer used at the time had only 4K of memory, and its computing ability was less than one-thousandth of an ordinary smartphone today. However, this primitive technology succeeded in conveying humans into space 50 years ago, implying the fact that technology is just a tool to realize the powerful will of humans. Only the guidance and building of willpower can push the society forward. Therefore, with artificial intelligence and digital technology readily available, humans' will and resolution can fundamentally change the education ecosystem.
Teachers are the soul of schools, so we have continued to focus on bringing in and retaining educational talents. We cooperated with the China Teacher Development Foundation to fund the Master Teacher Award and the Outstanding Teaching Award，to encourage more teachers to impart knowledge to students. We funded university foundations, to invite in senior education talents; donated teacher domitories to high school, ensure they will fully focus on the development of students.
We are likely to overestimate the short-term impact of a thing yet underestimate its long-term impact. Putting ourselves in a broader historical context, we may have greater confidence in the power of education welfare and the power of ecology, regardless of industry pain. The passing of one year to the next is an appropriate moment to have a new start. On this occasion, we anticipate continuing the joint efforts with our peers to promote diversified education, as we strongly believe: the world will make a difference if we embrace all differences.
We highly appreciate all partners who have joined hands with us in the past. We are looking forward to, together with all education stakeholders from education authorities, enterprises, schools, social institutions, education innovators, and international organizations for education exchange, conceiving, practicing, and advocating diversified development of the education ecosystem, and to opening up more possibilities for the future of education and individuals!
Chen Yidan Foundation
January 1, 2022