In an audacious move, Edves Catalyst 2023 has brought together thought leaders in education from across the globe to think through and offer innovative ways of breaking barriers to facilitate learning in the most problematic environments.
The theme of the seventh edition, “Audacious” captures the spirit and thrust of the conference which convened educators, teachers, professionals, policymakers, school owners and government officials from both within Nigeria and outside of it. The event took place at the weekend at Landmark Event Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos.
The conference opened with remarks from the chief executive officer and co-founder Dare Adebayo and Dimeji Falana, who highlighted the purpose and significance of the annual programme. Initially, the founders aimed to develop technology to address the diverse challenges in the African education space. Consequently, they created the Edves Catalyst programme as a platform for experts in the education field to discuss these challenges and provide actionable solutions. The goal of the programme is to empower policymakers, school directors, teachers, students, school administrators, and parents to implement these solutions and enhance learning outcomes.
In his keynote address Peter Chin, PhD, associate dean, faculty of education at Queens University in Canada, set the tone for the conference. Chin emphasised that the fundamental role of a teacher is to connect students with their dreams. He highlighted that quality teaching and learning can thrive when children feel safe, cared for, and see themselves reflected in the curriculum.
Another keynote speaker, Kathy Perkins, Ph.D, focused on science technology engineering and mathematics (STEM) education for all and empowering the next generation of innovators. Penkins identified the lack of physical resources as a significant challenge to STEM education in Africa. She stressed the importance of engaging students in critical thinking and problem-solving, highlighting the need for collaboration among all stakeholders to improve STEM learning.
During the panel discussions, educators, including Lagos State Commissioner of Education Folashade Adefisayo, addressed various issues. Adefisayo emphasised that funding plays a crucial role in addressing the issue of out-of-school children in Nigeria. She also highlighted the scarcity of education management experts and proposed collaboration between corporate organisations and the government through corporate social responsibility initiatives, trust funds, investment portfolios, and quality capacity training programmes for teachers.
Professor Ike Elechi Ogba delivered a refreshing session on the value of silence. He expressed concern about the blame often placed on teachers for various school-related issues and the lack of recognition for their efforts. Professor Ogba emphasised the need for teachers to unwind, relax, and find serenity to combat depression and improve their well-being.
In a breakout session with parents, the topic of strengthening parents’ collaboration and partnership was discussed. Bukola Olawuyi, a lawyer turned educator, emphasised the importance of recognising parents and teachers as stakeholders working together. She highlighted the communication gap between parents and teachers as a major challenge that needs to be addressed.
Lauretta Patrick Nwachi, a banker turned university administrator, expressed concern about the negative impacts of examination malpractice on the education system. She called for school owners and teachers to uphold high standards and avoid contributing to the system’s deterioration. Nwachi stressed the importance of intentionality in improving education.
Lanre Oguntoye emphasised the role of parents in monitoring their children’s academic progress. He encouraged parents to actively engage with their children’s work, provide reflective feedback, and monitor their strengths and weaknesses.
Overall, Edves Catalyst served as a platform for critical thinking, networking, product launches, and the spotlighting of schools. By bringing together educators, policymakers, professionals, and parents, the conference aimed to foster collaboration and generate actionable solutions to improve education delivery in Africa.
Excerpts from Speakers
Read also: Photos: Edves catalyst 2023 “Audacious”