From Classroom to Global Stage: Inclusive Education for Tomorrow

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Balanced and Inclusive Education (BIE), a key pillar of the Organisation of Southern Cooperation (OSC) goes beyond mere academic learning; it encompasses nurturing critical thinking, and respect for cultural and social diversity. It is a novel concept, or a new Third Way of development, aimed at promoting equality and fairness in the Global South, which includes countries in Africa, Latin America, Asia, the Middle East, and the Caribbean region.

In today’s interconnected and rapidly changing world, education stands as a cornerstone for building inclusive societies and fostering sustainable development, yet current education systems in the Global South are quite detached from the everyday realities of their citizens and communities. For example, there is less dialogue between schooling systems and communities; non-academic knowledge often based on cultural connectivity and interconnected is on the periphery of accepted education systems. Achieving truly Balanced and Inclusive Education requires more than just ensuring access to schools; it necessitates embracing diverse perspectives, empowering marginalised communities, and incorporating local wisdom into educational systems.

Most of the education systems in the Global South were inherited from former colonial powers and are thus still centred around an imbalanced cultural form of learning. Some question the value of an educational curriculum or concept that does not apply to modern-day development, social or traditional needs and values.

The fundamental focus of the BIE is to transform, by leveraging a systemic policy approach with frameworks that prioritise equity, diversity, and inclusion, by building institutional capacities in Member State countries, to address systemic barriers, promoting inclusive practices at all levels of the education system, and offering expertise in curriculum development, teacher training, assessment methodologies, and inclusive pedagogies to enhance the quality and relevance of education for all learners.

With the recent establishment of the OSC Institute, located at the headquarters in Addis Ababa, a state-of-the-art building, inaugurated to host the first 2-month intensive training program slated for April 2024. This program aims to bring together 84 officials from the Ministries of Education, senior-level technical experts in curriculum design, trained professionals, and policymakers from Member States. The objective is to enhance institutional capacities in Balanced and Inclusive Education, Transdisciplinary Research and Production, Endogenous (internally derived or home-grown) technology and development, and strategic economic transformation.

Additionally, the OSC has made significant strides in advancing Balanced and Inclusive Education through the utilisation of innovative technologies and digital frameworks. By launching the Greater South Information System (GreSIS) and the Greater South Learning Enrichment Resources Nexus (GreSLERN), the OSC has facilitated the development and provision of digital tools to Member States. These tools enable the creation of interactive and contextualised learning content. By offering these resources free of charge and in an advanced, open-source, and customisable format, the OSC embodies the principles of balance and inclusivity not only within academia but across various disciplines, ensuring that no one is left behind.

Advocating for the adoption of a systemic policy approach to create education systems that celebrate diversity, foster inclusion, and empower learners to become agents of positive change in their communities and beyond, the OSC continuously plays a pivotal role in support of collaborative efforts and solidarity across borders to build a more equitable and inclusive future of the South, by the South for humanity.

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