Expanding Learning Horizons: B.O.L.D Summit 2019
At the end of February, ALU’s Mauritius campus held its inaugural B.O.L.D (Breaking Ordinary Learning Dimensions) Summit. At, ALU, we believe it’s not enough to innovate Africa’s educational model, we want to transform the global educational model and impact youth from all socio-economic and cultural backgrounds.
The B.O.L.D Summit was an intensive two-day moderated and free-form brainstorming session among education enthusiasts, lifelong learning advocates, students, and prospective students to begin the process of reimagining education to meet the needs of the 21st century.
Before you build it, you have to break it.
B.O.L.D theme-driven conversations focused on:
- Innovative education models for the 21st century,
- Improving access to quality education,
- Life after secondary school, and
- Changing perceptions and winning fans for your cause
ALU guests leveraged panel discussions and small break-out groups to not only explore current educational innovations but also candidly discuss the merits of each – while simultaneously examining new possibilities on the horizon.
Participants left nothing untouched. Truly on a mission of discovery, they were willing to discuss and debate the merits and the pitfalls of every existing system. To create a new model of education to carry humanity through the 21st century, nothing was safe. Each participant came willing to break every barrier — even if only conceptually—to create something even greater.
Two Days. Non-Stop Engagement.
The B.O.L.D Summit immersed participants in ongoing conversations around potential innovations and possibilities for education.
After a rousing opening keynote address from Mr. Saul Singer, co-author of Start-Up Nation, impressing the significance of the continent and why Africa must be the place where education is reborn, he lit a fire in each of the participants. From then on, there was a dynamism to every panel, every TED Talk-style discussion, every single sidebar was on fire. Mr. Singer’s emphatic call to action left no one unmoved.
Even at lunch, participants focused on table topic discussions to address different bold approaches to learning. At one point, participants also had an opportunity to discuss the implications of B.O.L.D innovative education models on key stakeholders, and we examined B.O.L.D initiatives from these perspectives.
Understanding what it takes
Over the two days, the B.O.L.D Summit generated energy, passion, and—above all else— ideas. The summit buzzed with people connecting, talking, sharing, and brainstorming next steps and how to create opportunities in various geographical areas.
To call it a success is an understatement. “As a student, I got to interact with policymakers, understand what their work is about and also let them understand what we students need to thrive. I believe the first step to transforming education is getting everyone to sit at the same table and that’s exactly what BOLD is about,” says Farai Munjoma, 3rd-year ALU student from Zimbabwe, founder of Shasha Network and winner of the 2018 Junior Achievement Africa Out of School Youth Competition.
To close the summit, Pekka Peura, “the most famous teacher in Finland,” expertly embraced all of the energy generated from this inaugural event and in his keynote address, he grounded all of the ideas and learnings vibrating in the air within a context of learning.
He discussed the three key drivers of learning: motivation, feedback, and the zone of proximal development. In the end, we are all students and Peura’s emphasis on the process of learning, even for edu-preneurs, brought us full circle, taking us from the role of educator back to that of the student. He helped everyone to embrace the fundamental concepts of B.O.L.D., from a simple (yet profound) posture of learning.
Finally, not to miss an opportunity to mingle, we ended this inaugural two-day event with a gala dinner full of amazing musical performances from ALU musicians and inspiring stories from our staff member Isaac Oboth and student Stephanie Gogo.
Isaac Oboth’s story is the embodiment of a B.O.LD education. Seemingly by happenstance, Isaac stumbled on film making. Due to the mediocre quality of the “professional” films he saw making large sums of money and his own humble life circumstances, he taught himself how to make films by watching YouTube videos. He is now the CEO and Founder of Media 256 and working, one film at a time, to change the video content in Africa.
Equally interesting, Stephanie Gogo is a Kenyan ALU student interested in merging fashion and social justice. She’s passionate about education but is more interested in doing or experimenting than sitting in a chair and “having information drilled in [her] head.” She’s an example of a B.O.L.D student, driven to achieve while learning.
Having both Isaac and Stephanie present and hearing their perspectives and experiences with education brought a sense of urgency and relevance to B.O.LD, taking from merely the theoretical to an immediate practical need.
Our guest left ALU’s Mauritius campus on fire and the same can be said for our students and staff. After this experience, ALU has the “summit bug,” and we’re already planning our next B.O.L.D Summit for later this year.