I am delighted to welcome you to the ICSEI website, the gateway to the ICSEI community. ICSEI’s mission is to enhance the quality of education and support the development of more equitable education systems so that all children and young people can achieve their full potential irrespective of their background or circumstances.
The ICSEI community is an increasingly diverse band of brothers and sisters bound together by a strong set of values and commitment to educational equity, effectiveness and improvement. The community includes researchers, policymakers and practitioners from the global north and south. A key feature of the community is how it blurs the boundaries between research policy and practice to ensure that evidence and ideas move between these domains, are translated into practice and ultimately impact on outcomes. I see ICSEI not as only an organisation that generates knowledge and contributes to key debates but as an organisation that actually makes difference by impacting on policy and practice. All education systems know more than they use. ICSEI is about unlocking the untapped potential that exists in classrooms, schools and their communities. This requires understanding of different contexts, insightful analysis and social interaction to understand how to unlock the potential and influence and support change and improvement. As educators, how we achieve this is something that the pandemic has required us to rethink.
The COVID-19 pandemic has radically redefined the educational challenges around the globe. Education systems have experienced whole-scale school closures, re-opening and further closures. Approaches to distance learning, so called ‘blended learning’ and ‘home schooling’ have become the norm and have placed extreme pressure on many children, young people and their families. The evidence is indicating that these pressures have the most impact on the disadvantaged and vulnerable in our societies. Put simply, the pandemic is doing the most harm to those that already have the odds stacked against them. This all makes ICSEI’s commitment to supporting the creation of fairer education systems more important than ever. ICSEI has three key strands of activity to achieve this commitment: ICSEI Networks, The Annual Congress and Regional Event
The ICSEI networks are a major strength of the ICSEI community and last year in response to the pandemic ICSEI launched the Crisis Response in Education Network (CREN). This network will focus on issues relating to COVID-19 for the first two years. It joins a set of six other networks:
- Data use
- Early career
- Early childhood education and care
- Educational leadership
- Policymakers, politicians and practitioners (3P)
- Professional learning networks (PLN)
ICSEI’s Annual Congress is a highlight of the year. In January 2020 we held our congress in Africa for the first time. Around 1000 researchers, policymakers and practitioners attended to share their research, insights and experiences. This was a wonderful Congress, both extremely intellectually stimulating and culturally diverse. An example of bringing the best research and ideas together from around the world. There are a number events linked to the Congress. These tend to include ‘masterclasses’, school visits and an active social and cultural programme. In March 2021 ICSEI will be hosting our first virtual congress. The have an excellent set of keynotes signed up and over 60 papers and symposia. Please do register early and if you or your organisation would be interested in hosting an ICSEI Congress in the future please do get in touch.
The last face-to-face gathering was at our Scottish Regional Event in February 2020. This involved a range of seminars/workshops focusing on educational equity led by leading researchers and commentators. As we move out of lock-down I am keen that ICSEI develops more Regional Events around the world. If you would like to work with ICSEI to host a Regional Event please also do get in touch.
As we move through the pandemic and vaccination programmes begin to kick in hopefully 2021 lead us all to a better place than where we are now. There will be new and emerging challenges for ICSEI to focus on not least pertaining to the organisations defining mission of making education systems more equitable the world a better place for children and young people to grow up in. If you are not already, I do hope that you will join our community and help us to forge a better future for all our children and young people.
Professor Chris Chapman