For the first time, and due to health reasons, the International Education Summit was held remotely. The initiative brought together national and international experts on the subject and the challenges that COVID-19 has implied in the area.
Between January 4 and 7, the International Education Summit was held , for the first time in an online version. The possibility of connecting to the meeting through the internet and free of charge, allowed teachers from different Latin American countries to participate.
The two main themes: management and leadership and higher education management
The first topic was developed on January 4 and 5 under the title “X Inter-American Conference on School Management and Leadership”. The rector Ignacio Sánchez greeted from the UC Extension Center: “We are carrying out this activity in a hybrid format to facilitate the participation of all of you. The Summit is an event that has been installed as a moment of synthesis on the most relevant contents found the previous year and of projection towards the future. The point of view of many experts is gathered here, but above all it is an occasion for fraternal and technical meeting. These days we want to reflect that all members of educational institutions are constantly striving for teaching and learning to occur in a safe context. We want to put ourselves at the service of education in the country and the region ”.
For his part, Jorge Poblete, Undersecretary of Education , said: “The leadership of each one must be shared so that they can learn from the experiences of others. Sharing experiences is once again fundamental in the current challenge. It is also essential to improve oneself, that is why we have continued to provide new tools for the training of new teachers. These days are fundamental to put focus again on the pedagogical ”.
Lorena Medina, dean of the Faculty of Education , stressed the importance of strengthening the regional bond between Latin American managers: “We hope that the connection tools will be instances of contact and exchange between you to collaborate and get to know each other. We need to network to learn to face the common challenges that this crisis has brought us.
Managers require feedback and coaching
One of the most relevant presentations on the first day was “The new generation of managerial professional learning: feedback and coaching as tools for leadership development.” It was delivered by Ellen Goldring, professor in the department of leadership, politics and organizations at Peabody College, Vanderbilt University (USA). “We know that managers often don’t get enough feedback on their work. They do not receive it from their supervisors or their own teachers. This is unfortunate since we have studied that good feedback coupled with good coaching can improve their performance ”, explained the academic.
The expert presented the results of an investigation carried out at her university, according to which feedback alone is not enough because directors can be defensive and do not want to receive criticism. “That is why it must be accompanied by coaching, that way you can make good use of feedback and improve your work. The most important thing is that the coach can ask questions and listen, so that the director can reflect and change his behavior, ”he said.
Higher Education focused on the challenges of the future
The Education Summit has been held uninterruptedly since 2011 and brings together the Inter-American School Management and Leadership Conference and the Higher Education Management Conference, with the purpose of sharing, learning and analyzing among the main actors about trends and the challenges facing education at different levels. In both days, 18 national speakers and panelists participated this year, and another 18 international guests, which constitutes a contribution in different experiences and visions that constitutes an important part of the richness of the Summit.
In its 17th version, the Higher Education Management Conference brought together more than 2,000 higher education professionals and managers from more than 20 countries, to learn about the challenges that contemporary trends of change pose to leadership and management in higher education. “Among these trends there are some that have been with us for some time, such as globalization and networking, as well as others that arise from contingency, such as those derived from the pandemic. The Conference is a space to meet, reflect, share with colleagues and learn from each other ”, said Andrés Bernasconi, Academic Director of the Higher Education Management Conference.
This year a virtual and free version was produced for the first time, which combined different interactive methodologies; conferences, workshops, panels, and presentation of papers. Additionally, a section called Virtual Café was programmed in which participants from different origins met according to their professional development and interests, to spontaneously discuss their experiences, jobs and challenges.
Patricio Donoso, president of the International Summit, commented that this year there was the need, but at the same time, the opportunity, to hold the School Direction and Leadership Conference, in its tenth version, and Management in Higher Education, in its version 17, in a virtual format, which has significantly expanded access to this long-standing initiative, facilitating the registration of more than 5,000 people. For the same reason, he highlighted, “the national and international conferences and panels, the lectures and workshops in the most diverse fields, have been open to a much broader public from both the school world and higher education, with the possibility that the participants join new topics and challenges, short-term discussions, best practices and new developments,
At the inauguration of the Higher Education Management Conference, the rector Ignacio Sánchez pointed out that this year, these conferences and the Summit in general have very special characteristics that, as has been the case with so many initiatives since the outbreak of the pandemic, They have forced us to change, explore other forms of communication, question assumptions, and test platforms that, although forced by contingency, nevertheless have the potential to stay with us. “ These are challenging times, no doubt. The title we have chosen for this year for the Conference reflects the complexity of these challenges: we have entitled our conference ‘New educational spaces for citizenship and global engagement.Challenges for learning, governance and sustainability ‘. There are many concepts present in this formulation, we know it, but all of them appear essential and urgent in the face of the transformations that our societies are experiencing. The year 2020 has forced us to reimagine educational spaces, to live them at a distance, to re-create pedagogical and communication strategies between teachers and students at all levels of the educational system ”, he stated.
The Undersecretary of Higher Education, Juan Eduardo Vargas, also participated in the instance , who referred to the relevance of health and social-emotional well-being of the communities (students and teachers), which were positioned as the basal element for any learning process . “These elements, which in normal times could be considered as peripheral to the teaching process, became basic, evidently health being in the first place, which explains the total closure of face-to-face activities in the worst months. But, when the contagion rates fell, it was essential to create sheltered spaces for reunion and the establishment of links between colleagues who, in some cases, had never seen each other. The way in which this topic is addressed, in a context in which we will still have to live with the pandemic for a while longer, is a tremendous challenge, especially considering the expected impact in greater suspension of studies and dropouts that this situation has ”, manifested.
In addition, on the occasion, Bairbre Redmond, provost Red Universitas 21 and Associate Professor of Higher Education, University College Dublin , gave the international conference “Challenges for universities in the construction of global networks”, which was then commented on by Lilian Ferrer, Vice Chancellor of Affairs International UC and Raúl Rodríguez, Associate Vice President of Internationalization of the TEC de Monterrey.
The passion and affection that Bairbre Redmond said to have for university networks comes from 2016, when she was elected Provost of the U21 Network. Since then, and until now, when he is preparing to leave his post – in fact, these Higher Education sessions were his last official activity – his work has been oriented in this sense. “Why do universities join in networks?” asks Redmond. “Mainly, by having a greater collaborative force and achieving more than when alone, having more shared advantages and more common interests and, since last year, also to work and share in times of pandemic,” he said.
In addition, he stressed that universities come together to have access to more data, more resources, share research and specific data. “And to be able to have all that as something important from other also important universities.” He adds that they seek these ties because there is an increase in opportunities for students and teachers. And also by status. For being identified in a specific club or network. Because being in a certain group and with certain colleagues, that says a lot about a university. Being able to have more direct, closer and faster access to other important institutions and their teachers, “is like having the back key to other universities,” he said.
Meaning and purpose of Higher Education in times of pandemic
In this panel, where Catterina Ferreccio, professor and head of the doctorate in Epidemiology at the UC School of Medicine participated ; the rectors Ennio Vivaldi, from the University of Chile , Natacha Pino, from the University of Aysén , and Ignacio Sánchez, from the Catholic University, a series of issues related to the current work of universities arose, such as the need for a long-term view, leadership within uncertainty, collaborative work, complementarity, the relevance of knowledge, the interdisciplinary view, empathy , resilience and good communication. And, as a counterpart, fatigue, exhaustion, and mental health care, transversal themes to all the academic, professional and administrative teams of these institutions.
Among the challenges for Higher Education highlighted by Dr. Ferreccio are interdiscipline and social responsibility. As specific points of these two topics in the contribution to the management of the pandemic, it considers traceability, vaccination, population testing, risk communication, clinical and population management, epidemiological surveillance and ethical care. “In my experience working with the different groups and listening to the different arguments, I think we have a tremendous flaw as a country: we have professionals with many limitations. Universities could help by improving the experience of people working in interdiscipline, also considering social responsibility. I think they are two important issues: learning to listen and study, without being afraid of innovation.COVID-19 Advisory Council, Minsal 2020 .
Meanwhile, Natacha Pino, rector of the University of Aysén , said that, as a result of the pandemic, something important that has emerged, along with being able to provide the necessary technological tools to students, is to “rethink how we teach, how our students learn . We need, through this new way of teaching, to incorporate other methodological strategies, other tools with which our students learn in the same way. And there it is key to have professional, teaching and curricular support that guides our academics and that has been a tremendous learning for us and, evidently, accelerated a process that we had not yet installed. “Along with this, he highlighted the importance of containing in mental health to all members of the university community.
“I want to emphasize that in the history of the country, the role that universities have had is remarkable. For example, in Chile computing has been developed by universities, and from universities there are enormous achievements. The role that the university plays in this is enormous and we saw it again as a result of the pandemic, which in my opinion we must highlight ”, said Ennio Vivaldi, rector of the University of Chile. “The most important vision of Chilean politics is the productive matrix that we will have and how we insert ourselves in the world economically; how we enter this internationalized world, of transdiscipline and for this it is essential to discuss the productive matrix. Science and technology concern us not because they don’t give us resources for our researchers, but because there is something called Chilean society and the interests of the country. Universities have to see themselves with a country criterion. Not spending on science and technology or not spending on arts and humanities are decisions fundamentals that are going to impact us tremendously in a very short time and will leave us out of the international world ”, he affirmed, also highlighting that”
UC Rector Ignacio Sánchez stressed the important and pertinent role that universities have had in this pandemic, through research and transdisciplinarity in different instances. “Our researchers have been under great pressure to respond. The integrated university system from Arica to Punta Arenas has been key (…) As a result of the pandemic, our institutions have become very close to the population. There is a very clear sense of greater confidence, appreciation and expectations where universities can provide the country with answers to complex situations, they can provide analysis as in the program We have to talk about Chile, where more than one hundred thousand people have answered surveys, and twelve thousand people have talked. Very important has been the finding of the valuation of education as a transformative process, not only personal and family, but as a transformation-country, an important social cohesion and the fact that universities appear working as a whole is highly valued. This collaboration appears, this synergy, and not the competition. In that sense, I believe that, coming out of this difficult situation, the universities are going to have a very significant position in the level of trust and in the level of closeness, “he emphasized.