Education Minister Naftali Bennett.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Education ministers from around the world are to arrive in Israel next week to take part in the OECD Global Education Industry Summit, to be held this year in Jerusalem.
Organized jointly with Israel’s Education Ministry and the EU, the conference’s focus will be “education for innovation and innovation in education,” and will take place September 25-27 at the David Citadel Hotel.
“This is the first time in the history of the country that education ministers from around the world will come to Jerusalem,” Education Minister Naftali Bennett told The Jerusalem Post
on Monday. “This is an international weight for the significance and global standing of Israel.”
Bennett initiated the conference, personally reaching out to his counterparts in OECD countries, and inviting them to attend.
He said he believes it is time Israel changed its policy to one of innovation and not conflict.
“The world isn’t interested in conflict; it is interested in innovation and entrepreneurship,” he said. “Usually we only hear about Israel in terms of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or terrorism and here this is an opportunity to learn about Israeli innovation and education.”
Among the countries sending delegations are: Germany, Portugal, Switzerland, Finland, Sweden, Australia and New Zealand. Local and international academics and industry leaders are also set to take part.
The global summit will focus on integrating technological innovations into the global education system to improve the learning environment in schools and kindergartens throughout the world.
Throughout the conference visiting delegates will be exposed to Israeli innovation, with an emphasis on creativity within the formal and informal education framework.
“There is a reason that Israel is second only to Silicon Valley in innovation.
It is due in part to the Jewish ethos and the fact that for thousands of years we have studied,” he said, explaining that Jewish society places studying as a top priority. “It is not only technological, there is also informal education, like youth movements, which in contrast to the rest of the world youth teach other youth; national service, a year of service, the army – all of which develop and encourage leadership at a young age,” he added.
Bennett said every education minister will be exposed to Israel’s education methods, the world of hi-tech, security innovations as well as innovations in education.
“The problem that many countries are facing is how to spur growth that is derived from innovation – and they look toward Israel to see how they can educate toward that end,” he said, saying Israel is also here to learn from them.
“The real question is: How do you educate a child today toward occupations that don’t exist and will only exist in 15 years?” he said. “The idea is not only to build knowledge but to turn school into a place that will teach skills beyond pushing information.”
As part of the conference Bennett will also lead the education ministers and their delegations on a tour of Jerusalem.
“I hope the education ministers will see the real face of Israel – a face of innovation and creativity, cooperation and diversity, Jews and Arabs, secular and religious living together – it creates an interesting embroidery” he said.
This is the second year that the OECD is holding an international conference on the global education industry. Last year’s summit was held in Helsinki, where high-level policy makers and industry leaders discussed the need to incorporate technological innovations into learning environments to improve the quality of education.