Bett puts on a global showcase

In its most international programme yet, schools and government ministers from across the globe sought to demonstrate just why their city is the top destination for education.

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The opening of London’s Bett Show on January 22nd started off in the future and worked its way back to soft skills, wellbeing and creativity over the course of the week, welcoming over 34,000 attendees.Top of the bill was the launch of a new Global Education Council, a Bett subsidiary group to ‘unlock the transformative potential of technology’ and address the perils and opportunities in education over the next decade.The council, made up of visionaries in education and professional development, is led by Bett chairman Jose Papa (former MD, Cannes Lions) with members including Dr Mary Apea Ashun, principal, Ghana International School and board member of the Association of International Schools Africa; Rt Hon Jim Knight, former UK minister for schools and then employment and CEO at TES Global; Vikas Pota, chairman of Varkey Foundation; Mark Sparvell, education thought leader at Microsoft ,and Future Learning Fund founder, Julia Moffat.

Aligning skills and jobs

According to research by the World Economic Forum, more than one in four adults reported a mismatch between their skills and those needed for their job role and this year’s agenda kept that issue at the forefront of proceedings.Standout sessions included a keynote by Microsoft on Hybrid Intelligence and Amplifying Human Potential, The Importance of Creativity by Apple and The Future of Work is the Cloud by Amazon Web Services.An opening address by Rt Hon Chris Skidmore MP also made clear that the UK is invested in a digital economy backed by innovative learning and education technology. “The great promise of modern technology is the ability to tear down barriers, wherever you might live,” he said.While Professor Brian Cox OBE reminded crowds of the role and purpose of education – to inspire and discover – in his unique Exploring the Universe keynote in the early evening of day one.This year, the event organiser invested in two new theatres dedicated to professional development, with skills workshops offering practical advice and useful resources and a dedicated Global Showcase area that dominated the south halls.
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Global education priorities

With Bett relaunching Bett MEA in Dubai in September 2020 to coincide with the Dubai Expo and extending its international reach across Asia, Europe and Latin America, several countries were represented at the show highlighting investments and where they lead on education.The first ever Global Showcase featured 19 ‘national pavilions’ including government export groups, ministries of education and associations all demonstrating how education lies at the heart of their country’s education strategy.Hailing itself the ‘City of Education’ was Moscow with a focus on equipping school students for a career in science and engineering.Coding, robotics and creativity were championed by Korea and Japan, while leadership was emphasised by Hungary, France and Spain.The dominant global presence was however from the MEA, with Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Oman and the UAE all highlighting their human capital visions.

Technology and wellbeing

Other themes included big-picture thinking about the future of education and the role of technology to enable learning in its many forms. From AI and VR, to the impact of 5G on early education right through to adult professional training.More uniquely was a significant focus on wellbeing throughout the event. While seminars led by international school leaders, regulators, tech companies and government bodies all revealed increased concern about digital wellbeing and the need for more pastoral initiatives to ensure academic success.Don’t miss our in-depth Bett coverage on education and the future of work in the Spring 2020 issue of Relocate Global as well as our next International Education & Schools Guide

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