We all bear a significant historical responsibility to ensure comprehensive, balanced, and sustainable economic and social development for a global population. We look toward the future to promote development in the world as a whole, and promote durable common prosperity and equal opportunities to eliminate poverty while minimizing environmental abuse. (Singh & Wen, 2008) This dimension addresses a number of essential questions on a balanced future:
- How will climate change impact the future of humanity? Is it too late?
- Can we feed the growing population on the planet without destroying it?
- Does humanity have a future beyond Planet Earth – or is this merely the stuff of science fiction?
- Will the world ever be able to eliminate poverty, unequal distribution of wealth, and unequal access to healthcare?
- Will religious and ethnic minorities remain ‘minorities’ in the future?
- Will gender equality be achieved through the development of the arts, humanities and sciences? (Rees, et al., 2016)
Day 1 29/05/2021
Lost in Translation: SNC from Ideas to Implementation
With the implementation of the Single National Curriculum (SNC) around the corner, the conundrum of implementation, and consequences of what seems like a linear and feasible objective of the government remains the hottest topic of discussion. The recent announcement by the Federal Government to continue with English as the language of instruction, while using Urdu language books for Social Studies has had a significant impact on the tenor of conversation around the medium of instruction. Is there hope for further flexibility in the upcoming core curriculum or will it be lost in translation in the absence of the right implementation tools and processes?
Join us for an engaging discussion as our panel of experts deliberate over the SNC and emerging trends in the medium of instruction.
- Is there an implementation and monitoring plan for the rollout of the SNC to effectively end the so-called ‘education apartheid’?
- With ‘uniformity’ already under question, what could be the defining purpose behind the SNC?
- Will model textbooks be used across all types of schools in the upcoming academic year or will other books receive timely NOCs?
- Will learning and content become diluted or ‘lost in translation’ from one language to another?
Dimension: Unknown Future
Panel Discussion: Lost in Translation: SNC from Ideas to Implementation
Moderator: Fasi Zaka
Panellist: Dr Mariam Chughtai, Arshad Saeed Husain, Ch Faisal Mushtaq TI, Dr Ayesha Razzaque
Vaccine Safety, Efficacy and Access: Covidopoly?
In less than a year, several vaccines have become available to protect people from the COVID-19 virus, an astounding scientific achievement. However, new problems have emerged with this development: who will get the vaccine, which vaccine they will get, and when will they get it. While the world is battling the virus, uncertainty around the safety, efficacy, and access to vaccines grows. Is the belief that ‘no one is safe, unless everyone is safe’ only rhetoric or will it translate into action as well? Current statistics indicate that rich nations are vaccinating one person every second while many of the poorest nations have yet to administer a single dose.
This session brings together specialists to discuss the safety, efficacy, and controversies around COVID-19 vaccines.
- Do the differing efficacy rates of varying vaccine brands make a difference? If yes, do we have a choice between vaccines? Should we have a choice?
- Will countries be left behind in the vaccine race?
- Is privatisation the answer to the vaccine problem in developing countries like Pakistan?
- Is Covax the answer to equitable distribution of resources and could it help end the pandemic?
Dimension: Inclusive Future
Panel Discussion: Vaccine Safety, Efficacy and Access: Covidopoly?
Moderator: Dr Saulat Fatimi
Panellist: Dr Omar Chughtai, Dr Faisal Sultan, Dr Faisal Mahmood, Dr Nawal Salahuddin
Beyond Reopening Schools: Emerging Priorities
COVID-19 has brought many existing patterns and trends to the surface. On the one hand, many weaknesses and vulnerabilities have been highlighted such as inequality in access to education and the lack of preparedness for a massive shift to digital and distance learning. On the other hand, some positive features within schools have also become increasingly visible. We are seeing resourcefulness, dedication, and creativity from governments, school systems, teachers, families, and students who are collaboratively building remarkable learning experiences.
In this session, panelists discuss the latest trends and emerging priorities around COVID-19 as this school year comes to an end and planning starts for the next academic year with physical reopening of schools.
- What lessons have schools learnt from the past year that can guide them in future?
- What should schools anticipate around the behavioural and mental health needs of students and staff?
- How can schools engage the entire school community to establish a safe environment for all educators, school staff, and students?
- What steps are essential to cover learning losses?
- What mutually beneficial systems and frameworks can be envisaged to ensure collaboration between public, private, and not-for-profit schools?
Dimension: Unknown Future
Panel Discussion: Beyond Reopening Schools: Emerging Priorities
Moderator: Afshan Khalid
Panellist: Nadeem Ghani, Attiya Noon, Suhail bin Aziz, Shehryar Salamat, Baela Raza Jamil
Holding Young People in a Digital Space: Keys to Creating a New Generation of Jedis
Who is a Jedi? A creative, innovative, caring, and purpose-driven young person who seeks to make a difference in an expanding world—and who has the courage and skills to solve problems while facing disruption and change.
This should be the vision for today’s educator—and is more achievable now than ever before. COVID-19 has resulted in major ‘learning loss’ across the world. However, the silver lining to this is the rise of hybrid and digital learning over the past year.
Join Thom Markham, a project-based learning expert, as we embark on a journey to explore how teachers can migrate best classroom practices in project-based learning to partner with students online and design passion-driven project experiences. Projects that are meaningfully challenging, authentic, focus on sincere collaboration, design thinking, and interaction with their community can all be guided by a future-focused, ‘project mindset’ assessment vision.
Dimension: Expressive Future
Workshop: Holding Young People in a Digital Space: Keys to Creating a New Generation of Jedis
Host: Kanwal Malik
Workshop facilitator: Thom Markham
Deepfakes: Seeing is No Longer Believing
The ethical conundrum of machine learning and its subset of deep learning algorithms to create, and thereby extend fake auxiliaries of reality, is a relatively recent development for mankind. The deepfake vocabulary that uses a pair of autoencoders; one on the ???actor??? and the other on the ???target???, in itself explains the direct threat it places on privacy, security, and democracy.
As the offshoots for this technology become more advanced and sophisticated, the less humans can distinguish between real and authentic, and trust our instincts at all.
- In a world mostly preoccupied by constant visual windows into other realities, why do we need a parallel world of false imitation?
- Is fake news, hoaxes, and fraud, a new kind of creative expression to subvert the status quo?
- Are deepfakes a reaction to the control mechanism and power imposed by authorities or are they an insidious method and tool to further authoritarian ambitions?
Censorship, Human Endurance, and Crossfires
The last five days of Ramadan 2021 saw an apocalyptic unfolding of events when personal, live videos were shared on social media from one the world's most oppressed nations - Palestine. Had these events been left to be reported by mainstream media, they would not have resulted in any crucial and long overdue dialogue on the vocabulary that distinguishes ‘genocide’ from ‘conflict’.
The oppressor and the oppressed relationship takes form in infinite ways; from complete control over voices, passports, healthcare, and safety to generational trauma, destroyed archives, and doctored memories.
Over the past decade social media has firmly rooted itself into our daily periphery of news consumption; it has inversely been controlled by governments across the world from the US to Egypt to China to pervasively censor civil and political events, and repress or promote movements for socio-economic advantages.
This panel includes voices from the Middle East and Malaysia to reconstruct and differentiate between information ‘curated’ or ‘disclosed’.
- What is at stake besides human capital when it comes to state ideological control censorship?
- How much money is involved in the weapons industry vs the censorship industry? Do they go hand in hand?
- Can we consider occupations, migrations, and rights to defend as gradient issues, or should they be considered as black and white?
From Room to Zoom: The Changing Landscape of Education
In theatre, the ‘fourth wall’ is a crucial, invisible wall between the performer and the audience against which the performer must not turn his back and be cognizant of it at all times while using the remaining three walls on stage as props, backgrounds, and visual aides. The same applies to the landscape of the traditional classroom where students have three very engaging walls; their peers, hands on experiences, and engagement with physical and virtual content material. Additionally, they have to be cognizant of the fourth wall at the centre i.e. the teacher and the board, as their converging point.
This year, we saw a phenomenal change when a new fourth wall emerged as the only wall - the laptop screen and multiple cameras joined together in cyberspace to create virtual classrooms. Students had no hands-on collaboration and yet had more space for cerebral collaboration. There was also no hierarchy in sitting arrangements, groupings, or special bonds between students or teachers.
This session explores what happens when students flip the classroom from outwards, physical settings to inwards, software settings.
- Is it safe to say that the structures we were too comfortable with have changed abruptly and may never go back to the same way again?
- Does this landscape prepare students more for 21st century careers or does this limit their problem-solving skills to computer-based solutions only?
- Do learning opportunities beyond borders and beyond classrooms outweigh the classroom hands-on skills?
Day 2 30/05/2021
It`s OK not to be OK: Brewing Toxic Positivity
The pandemic has brought to the fore various struggles among individuals, such as mental health issues, loneliness, and financial uncertainty, to name a few. Yet, we are constantly reminding ourselves and others to ‘stay positive’ or ‘be grateful it’s not worse’. While these messages might be well-intended, they can make us feel that our negative emotions are invalid. People believe being overly pessimistic or cynical is toxic; but thinking that you must always be positive and not feel any negative emotions is just as toxic. Stories of Isaac Newton inventing calculus while socially distancing during the Great Plague have circulated for some time, and add pressure to not only surviving such events but thriving during them. It's time to accept that it's OK not to be OK.
This session brings together eminent psychologists and behavioural scientists to discuss if it is ok not to be ok.
- How does something like positivity become toxic?
- How is toxic positivity harmful?
- How can you deal with toxic positivity?
- How can well-intentioned individuals prevent toxic positivity?
- Why has toxic positivity come to light now, during the pandemic, rather than before?
Lights, Camera, Covid! Producing Big Hits or Taking a Big Hit?
We are the ‘indoor’ generation—the generation that spends the majority of time inside. Due to urbanised pollution, comforts of the internet or extreme weather conditions, being inside is the ‘natural’ habitat of humans, once known as hunters and gatherers. Further retraction during COVID-19 from communal living areas to personal spaces has made the function of television broadcasts almost obsolete in some countries for younger demographics. With the Over-The-Top media and On-Demand services, a majority of viewers watch what they want to watch, when, where, and on their format of choice. This agency, which seems to give us mobility and independence, has resulted in significant financial losses for the cinema and theatre box offices, and has also made us dependent and chained to our wireless devices. COVID-19 has been an eye-opener for us to gauge the media production industries and our relationship with them.
Join us to discuss ideas and predictions that our panellists have to offer.
- Did media industries that did not join the bandwagon of on-demand media services suffer losses during COVID-19?
- Will the media industry change the way it works to prevent losses and prepare itself against future pandemics or will resilience pay off?
- Do we consider ourselves agents with power over what we want to view or is our dopamine-addiction to media tethering us to our gadgets?
Dimension: Unknown Future
Panel Discussion: Lights, Camera, Covid! Producing Big Hits or Taking a Big Hit?
Moderator: Mehmal Sarfraz
Panellist: Mariam El Bacha, Salman Iqbal, Mikaal Zulfiqar, Sajid Hasan
Happier Futures for All - Pipe dream or Possibility? Munizae Jahangir in Conversation with Hina Rabbani Khar
Interview: Happier Futures for All - Pipe dream or Possibility? Munizae Jahangir in Conversation with Hina Rabbani Khar
Interviewer: Munizae Jahangir
Guest: Hina Rabbani Khar
Unleashing the Potential of AI in Education
There is universal acceptance among educators that Artificial Intelligence (AI) is important for their future as opportunities for AI to support education are immense. It is believed that AI will be instrumental to their institution’s competitiveness within the next three years, with many calling it a ‘game-changer’. However, the vast majority of educationists, while understanding the need for an AI strategy, may lack clarity on an implementation strategy.
This session explores AI’s potential to change the way teachers teach and students learn, helping maximize student success, and prepare them for the future. ?
- What is the role of AI in education?
- How will AI impact the curriculum?
- Does AI allow human agency and spontaneity?
- What is the role of ethics in AI in the field of education?
#CancelExams - Top Trending Tweet or Necessity?
As Pakistan grappled with the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, the government announced that secondary school examinations of local and international boards will take place in person, with a renewed datesheet. This gave rise to the top trending hashtag demanding the cancellation of exams. Many feel that giving exams in these adverse conditions should not be forced on students. Should schools improve their validity and reliability checks rather than force students to sit for exams? Should the government prioritise validity, reliability, and learning losses at the cost of violation of the SOPs?
This session provides a platform for students to voice their perspective on this dividing issue.
- How has the pandemic affected students' preparation for external high stake exams?
- How has the decision regarding postponement of exams affected students’ future academic trajectories?
- What is the impact of this on students’ mental wellbeing?
Power of Simple: Strategies for School Transformation Post-Covid
COVID-19 has forced innovative educators to rethink how we school students. With students now able to learn anytime, anywhere, and with access to content at their fingertips, it is less about WHAT we teach, and more about how we facilitate and deliver the learning experience. Teachers need to focus on what they can do for their students and what changes they do have the ability to make.
Join us in a 60 minute workshop with Kyle Wagner, the founder and lead trainer for Transform Educational Consulting Limited, to explore authentic experiences that hold transformative power of student-centred, real-world learning. Together we will explore SIMPLE innovations that will transform schools by conquering standards, individualising learning, and creating a community of innovators.
Dimension: Expressive Future
Workshop: Power of Simple: Strategies for School Transformation Post-Covid
Host: Sarah Muneeb
Workshop facilitator: Kyle Wagner
Bitcoin: Symbol of a New World Order?
There is a new currency in town, and we better get used to it. While we still find it hard to wrap our heads around the fact that cryptocurrencies are now almost as valuable as some companies such as Apple, people are now ???buying??? digital art at Christie???s with non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Predictions are that cryptocurrencies and NFTs will grow in value because they will grow in popularity and more companies will accept and trade cryptocurrency. It is expected that bitcoin will remain the most popular and traded currency for the foreseeable future but others will also join the marketplace. The speculative nature of crypto is a serious threat to its investment desirability. So what should companies do about these trends as it seems cryptocurrencies, NFTs, and blockchain are here to stay.
This session brings together cryptocurrency specialists and financial experts to discuss the future of cryptocurrencies and their impact.
- Will cryptocurrencies end up supplanting all national currencies? Are we moving towards one currency for all?
- How will companies decide what to create and sell and how to value both?
- Will art, a domain or photograph bought today increase in value tomorrow, next week or next year?
- Will cryptocurrency and blockchain shift the balance of power in the world economy?