GDN’s flagship event is its Annual Global Development Conference held in different countries, each year, across the globe. These conferences aim to connect developing countries researchers and students with the world’s most influential researchers, corporate leaders and political figures on a common platform where they can interact with each other, share their research work and discuss the most pressing challenges in social and economic development. The defining features of the GDN conference are the empowerment of researchers in developing countries, strengthening of research skills and the mobilization of research for public policy. Previous conferences have been organised in Bonn, Tokyo, Rio, Cairo, New Delhi, Dakar, St. Petersberg, Beijing, Brisbane, Kuwait, Bogota, Budapest, Manila, Accra and Casablanca.
The 17th GDN Annual Global Development Conference was held in Lima, Peru on 17-18 March, 2016. It focused on the topic of ‘Education for Development: Quality and Inclusion for Changing Global Human Capital Needs.’ The conference was held in partnership with the Ministry of Education Peru and the Group for the Analysis of Development (GRADE). It was hosted by Universidad del Pacifico.
Why Education for Development?
The world has declared, through the United Nations, that the 4th Sustainable Development Goal is to “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.” The objective of the conference is to initiate the process of operationalizing this goal in terms of concrete objectives and policies through informed discussion, debate and collaboration between development stakeholders. Conference attendees will deliberate on policies and strategies in education and related areas that will ensure human capital needs can be met in the context of rapid global techno-economic changes.
The four cornerstones, constituting the plenary sessions of the Conference, are:
Skills for Tomorrow: What will labor markets look like in a generation from now? How can higher education institutions stay ahead of changing labor markets? How can vocational training better supplement academic education? How can countries cooperate for globally optimal skills exchange? This theme will focus on these and related questions from domestic and global efficiency and equity perspectives for deliberating on the mission and objectives of education and education policies at national and intergovernmental levels.
Public Finance and Public Policy: This theme will focus on the costs, financial instruments and policies for delivering on the promise of access to life-long, high quality education that is affordable, equitable, and inclusive. Discussions will include incentivizing teaching and learning, efficient public spending, various forms of public private partnerships (PPP) for infrastructure development and service delivery, as well as comparative assessment of instruments such as loan guarantees and social development bonds. The political economy of public finance, and its impact on educational inequality across social, economic and geographic lines will be given special consideration.
Pedagogy, Technology and Institutions: Student learning outcomes depend on the quality of teachers, classroom environments, pedagogy and associated processes. The diffusion of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in their early days raised hopes of a sea-change in educational outcome. The readjustment of expectations in the recent past has resulted from a shift in interest back towards the human and procedural drivers of learning, including teacher qualifications and motivation and relaxed and non-competitive early childhood learning, psychological factors such as medium of instruction, and environmental factors such as classroom size and heterogeneity. Support for and resistance to macro-level ideas such as standardized testing appear to be driven as much by ideology as by evidence. This theme will focus on accepted knowledge and innovations in human, technical and institutional drivers of educational outcomes.
Research and Policy: Education research and researchers must be active partners in educational policymaking. In order for policymakers to take informed decisions on the objectives, delivery mechanisms and modalities of human capital formation, they need to have a better understanding of the options, costs and repercussions of policies. This is the task of the researchers in academic institutions, think tanks and development organizations. There is a need to strengthen national and international research capacity on, among others, metrics on quality and standards, impact evaluation, policy simulations and management information systems (MIS) and big data as well as to strengthen research-policy links. This theme will focus on the challenges of advancing this agenda nationally and internationally
Apart from these core topics, parallel sessions were organized around experiences from different regions of the world, as well as current and emerging thinking within development organizations.
The Global Development Network hosted an Awards Ceremony during the Conference in Lima, Peru. The Global Development Awards Competition is an innovative award scheme that recognizes excellence in policy-oriented research, supports research capacity development in developing countries and funds innovative social development projects benefiting marginalized groups in the developing world. Since its inception in 2000, GDN has provided US$3.8 million in awards and travel grants to finalists and winners.
The winners of the current round were chosen by an eminent jury at GDN’s 17th Annual Global Development Conference held in Peru from 17-18 March, 2016; an event that was attended by nearly 400 practitioners in the field of development, where finalists presented their proposals.
The Awards Competition closed on 15 January 2016. Over 270 submissions were received from more than 120 countries. The winners have been announced.
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