International Education Forum on Building Innovation Capability for the Future & Grand Opening of GEC Academy Suzhou Regional Office
By Katie Wang, research fellow of GEC-ASI
January 15, 2023 UPDATED 18:45 PM. GMT+8
GEC Academy, in collaboration with the Academy of Future Education, Xi’an Jiao Tong-Liverpool University (XJTLU), OxfordAQA, and SJTU - GEC Center of Innovative Design for Interdisciplinary Studies held the International Education Forum on Building Innovation Capability for the Future for education leaders, professionals and experts from international schools, colleges, and universities on December 18, 2022, in Suzhou. The event also highlighted GEC becoming an official partner of XJTLU and the opening of GEC’s new branch office in Suzhou.
Themed “Building Innovation Capability for the Future”, the forum featured keynote speeches and an in-depth discussion on topics including international innovative talents cultivation, emerging trends in education, and education in the context of globalization, and explored strategies for future educational development. The forum also called for promoting International Competence Development which played an increasingly significant role in strengthening inter-school exchanges and academic cooperation, facilitating mutual understanding and development between Sino-foreign institutions, and boosting further academic exchanges in the post-pandemic era.
Dr Xiaojun Zhang, Executive Dean of XJTLU Academy of Future Education, shared his perspectives on the possible changes in future education in the face of digital technology and artificial intelligence development. “Emerging digital tools have brought about changes to people’s lives, but we didn’t see such advanced information technology effectively applied in today’s education. We need to grasp every opportunity to seek innovative development in education to keep pace with the trend,” he said.
David Shen, CEO of GEC Academy, spoke of the experiences GEC has accumulated in research-oriented programs and in international talent training with the purpose of cultivating innovative international talents in the past three years. He emphasized, “it is our desire to provide excellent courses of various types to better serve our students, parents and international schools and universities.”
Zhinan Zhang, Director of the SJTU - GEC Center of Innovative Design for Interdisciplinary Studies, and Professor in the School of Mechanical Engineering at SJTU, noted the importance of developing innovative and interdisciplinary thinking methods from the perspectives of teenagers’ individual development, innovative practice and research-oriented learning. “As a non-profit platform, we have been working hard on building innovative, interdisciplinary, and practical capacities for young people. And we hope to support the development of future interdisciplinary researchers by creating more research opportunities,” he added.
Followed by two round-table sessions, the keynote speeches section concluded with an online address from Caroline Terquem, Professor of Physics in the Department of Physics at University of Oxford. Professor Terquem has been working with GEC for several years, and she sent her warm-hearted wishes to all the present attendees. She said, “I have been very happy to teach students for programs organized by GEC in the last couple of years. I have taught students from high schools in China and students from universities, both in China and abroad. It has been a very rewarding experience, as most students have been very enthusiastic and eager to learn. The vibrant environment that Suzhou offers will make this new office of success.”
The two round-table discussions highlighted the exchange of diverse ideas and views on the future of education and the most-needed talents and skills for the future. More than ten principals from international schools in Suzhou participated in the discussion centering on “the future development of international schools and the new trend of the integrated curriculum,” and “international school’s talent cultivation and training system for the future”. They brought about insightful and in-depth perspectives on the international schools’ education goals, curriculum design, and talent training mode, which provided instructive viewpoints on cultivating students’ global competence for their better involvement in the world.
Xin Pan, Principal at Suzhou Industrial Park Foreign Language School, stressed that international schools should pay great attention to students’ development in knowledge, skills, attitudes and values. “To help students excel in today’s international community, we need to encourage them to be more confident, open-minded, and inclusive,” he said.
Jianlan Zhang, Professor & Dean of ILEAD-XJTLU, also talked about how education workers should react to the ever-quickening changes in education. He put forward, “We are unlikely to know exactly what education will look like in the future. But we should never let our fire for education go out. We need to keep up with the trend with great passion. That’s the exact attitude that we, as education workers, should always hold on to.”
While discussing “the definition of talent”, Richard Wang, COO at GEC Academy, explained, “Typically, the current standardized examinations tend to evaluate students’ logic and analytical skills, but I believe the meaning of successful talent is more than that. Critical thinking, problem-solving and students’ creativity should also be included.”
Mr. Jianlan Zhang, Mr. David Shen, joined with Yu Zuo, Co-Director of SJTU - GEC Center of Innovative Design for Interdisciplinary Studies, Richard Wang, and others cut the ribbon to celebrate GEC’s new collaboration with XJTLU and its new branch office.
At the end of the forum, GEC Academy made two important announcements: GEC signed a framework agreement with Academy of Future Education, Xi’an Jiao Tong-Liverpool University; New GEC regional office opened in Suzhou, both in an effort to “Building Innovation Capability for the Future”. In the near future, GEC and XJTLU will carry out multi-dimensional and in-depth cooperation in curriculum design, training experience exchange and talent development and jointly design, facilitate and organize more exciting training programs and other academic and cultural exchange activities. Furthermore, with a new branch office opened in Suzhou, GEC will explore new forms of collaboration with international schools, institutions and universities in Eastern regions.
With the objective of cultivating the innovators of tomorrow, GEC will continue to provide dedicated service and excellent course delivery in more areas and will be expecting more academic and research opportunities created by the institutional affiliations.