Building Resilience into School Systems: Policy and Practice: An Online Workshop for Policymakers, Teacher Educators and School Leaders


Building Resilience into School Systems: Policy and Practice: An Online Workshop for Policymakers, Teacher Educators and School Leaders

06 December 2021 to 10 December 2021

The ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic beginning March 2020 has wrought huge disruptions in normal life, difficult as it already was in many countries. For schools, students, and parents, the impact of closed schools and children stuck at home with little or no access to learning, the effects have been devastating. For many students, a greater part of a whole year of learning has been lost, resulting in a whole cohort of students permanently lagging behind in their learning or suffering learning loss.  Teachers have had to pivot rapidly first to online learning, using all manner of technologies, from radio, TV, and the internet. Policymakers have had to make quick decisions in the wake of rapidly changing circumstances. Many rural students were left without devices or home support for their learning, while urban students had better access to wifi, patchy as it may have been in some places.

The crisis and the response to it have exposed weaknesses in educational systems while creating opportunities to reshape school education to a new paradigm that is more resilient and sustainable. As schools in many countries begin to start operating, it is timely to look at the lessons learned and to prepare for future disruptions.

This pandemic is not the first, nor will it be the last, to impact countries and schools. Such crises are becoming increasingly likely with climate change, technological disruptions, and enhanced globalized connectivity. The key to facing these is to build resilience into the whole school system, from technology to curriculum, pedagogy, and assessment.

In this programme, we discussed the need to review curriculum content in order to create time for process skills such as information finding and validating and problem-solving. To support this, there has to be new approaches to assessment and reform of traditional assessment methods which are currently focused on memorisation of content. Finally, reform would require the loosening of centralised control of school operations to release innovation and initiatives from the ground, creating a more student-centered education system. This would, in turn, lead to more localised professional development of teachers, customised to local circumstances and needs.

The proposed reforms require neither a top-down approach from policymakers, reactive changes to teacher preparation and in-service training, nor temporary makeshift arrangements by under-resourced principals and teachers. All parties need to be involved in developing strategies that can be implemented in the near-term as well as long-term. A dialogue across all levels of education is therefore critical in making informed policy to prepare for the new normal in school education.

There now exists a window of opportunity to learn from each country and experts and in developing a dialogue of expectations and requirements as we move ahead to the next phase of meeting post-COVID-19 challenges, knowing that the world will never be the same again. It is also an opportunity to address the present rigidities in the education system of many countries that were exposed by the pandemic.

The HEAD Foundation (THF) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) organized this five-day online workshop for policymakers, teacher trainers, and school leaders, led by international education experts, to chart the way forward and address the key issues.

Expected Programme Outcomes:

  1. Greater alignment between policy-makers, school leaders, and teacher trainers.
  2. Greater awareness of resilience in education, and what it means in terms of new skill sets, technology and training.
  3. Commitment to increase the nature and pace of education reform, and to dedicate more resources to education.
  4. ADB’s and THF’s commitment to support initiatives that turn crises into opportunities to speed up reform, build system resilience, and support decentralization.

Proposed Participant Learning Outcomes:

  1. Gain a good overview of what other countries are doing to meet the challenges, crisis-sensitive educational planning, and opportunities of a post-COVID world in education.
  2. Examine how decentralisation can stimulate innovation as well as flexibility in the delivery of curriculum and assessment and build resilience.
  3. Learn how policymakers can synergise better with school leaders and teacher trainers so that policies specifically pertaining to curriculum, assessment, pedagogy and technology can be reformed in an aligned and relevant manner to ensure enhanced support and resources for the ‘new normal’ in school education.
  4. Create alignment between curriculum, teaching, alternative assessment or examination system learning in school and non-school environments to meet ‘new normal’ educational challenges.
  5. Learn how other countries are managing school operations, student learning recovery and mental well-being.
  6. Discover approaches to re-envision the classroom to promote and sustain student-centred and creative pedagogies.
  7. Master strategies and skills needed to promote hybrid delivery of curriculum.
  8. Learn ways to empower students and teachers, parents to manage new challenges in ‘new normal’ schooling.
Program and Learning Materials: 
Date Session / Activity Presentation Material Speaker(s)
06 Dec 2021 Plenary Session 1 Opening Remarks Lim Yu Book, CEO, The HEAD Foundation
Dr Brajesh Panth, Chief of Education Sector Group, Asian Development Bank
06 Dec 2021 Plenary Session 2 Challenges, Priorities and Progress Moderator:
Vignesh Naidu
06 Dec 2021 Challenges, Priorities and Progress Philippines: Meeting The Challenges of The New Normal
Jennifer Lopez
06 Dec 2021 Challenges, Priorities and Progress Nepal: Covid-19 Response in Education: Policies and Practices
06 Dec 2021 Plenary Session 3 Teach Less Learn More: Singapore’s Future-Oriented Curriculum and Pedagogy Innovations S Gopinathan, Academic Advisor, The HEAD Foundation
Date Session / Activity Presentation Material Speaker(s)
07 Dec 2021 Group Sessions School Leaders (Group 1) Technology and Pedagogy – Reenvisioning the Classroom John Yeo
07 Dec 2021 Group Sessions Teacher Trainers (Group 2) Preparing Teachers for the New Normal Christine Lee
07 Dec 2021 Group Sessions Policy-makers (Group 3) Flexibility in Curriculum and Assessment • Opportunities N Varaprasad
Date Session / Activity Presentation Material Speaker(s)
08 Dec 2021 Group Sessions School Leaders (Group 1) Operating Schools Safely Carmela Oracion
08 Dec 2021 Group Sessions Teacher Trainers (Group 2) Technology and Pedagogy – Reenvisioning Teacher Education
08 Dec 2021 Group Sessions Transforming Teaching and Learning in School Education with Education Technology
Jeffrey Jian Xu, Yoonee Jeong
Date Session / Activity Presentation Material Speaker(s)
09 Dec 2021 Group Work Sessions Integrated Presentation Preparation by each Country Facilitator:
Respective Country’s ADB Focal for Education
Date Session / Activity Presentation Material Speaker(s)
10 Dec 2021 Plenary Session 4 Integrated Presentation Preparation by each Country Facilitator:
N Varaprasad
10 Dec 2021 Presentation 1 Professional Development Program: Nepal
Bhim Prasad Paneru
10 Dec 2021 Presentation 2 Professional Development Program: Philippines
Amparo MuÑoz
10 Dec 2021 Presentation 3 Professional Development Program: Bhutan
10 Dec 2021 Plenary Session 5 Panelists Chair/Moderator:
Vignesh Naidu
Brajesh Panth
S Gopinathan
Dr N Varaprasad


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