Posted on November 19, 2019

Founders and leaders of international schools and institutions that take a new, disruptive approach to learning have gathered in Qatar for the world’s first progressive schools summit, attended by Her Excellency Sheikha Hind bint Hamad Al Thani, Vice Chairperson and CEO of Qatar Foundation.

The LEAPS Summit – organized by Qatar Foundation’s Pre-University Education (PUE) – brought together the world of progressive education to explore how traditional methods of teaching and learning can be disrupted in order to support children’s creativity, curiosity, self-development, and future path. The summit – which will take place biennially – also saw the launch of Qatar Spotlight, developed through a partnership between PUE and HundrED, a not-for-profit organization that identifies and shares innovations in K-12 education. Through this initiative, members of Qatar’s educational sector will submit their innovative education ideas, with Qatar Spotlight sharing the 10 most impactful and scalable submissions with a wider global network of educators.

Shk. Noof Ahmed Al Thani, Executive Director of Strategic Initiatives and Partnerships at Qatar Foundation’s Pre-University Education, said “I am very pleased that Qatar Foundation has launched a first-of-its-kind global summit to bring together progressive educational institutions from around the world. “In this first year, we have received an excellent response from progressive schools abroad and from educational institutions in Qatar showing great willingness to work together to advance educational policy and practice. We look forward to increasing this global collaboration for schools in Qatar in the coming years.”

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Speaking about the launch of Qatar Spotlight, Saku Touminen, CEO of HundrED, said: “We have chosen to collaborate with Qatar Foundation because we share the same values ​​and goals in promoting and supporting educational innovations. “We want to identify the best educational innovations in Qatar and spread them around the world as successful innovations, to highlight what is happening here in Doha, and how it can be a learning center with a unique environment. There are beautiful things happening on the other side of the world that we seek to discover and spread. “It’s not about us. It’s not about schools. It’s about the children. It’s about the next generation. Our goal is to help each and every child flourish in life, no matter what happens.”

During the summit, representatives of international progressive schools and education institutions discussed different methodologies, governance systems, practices, and rationales for providing education that differs from traditional schooling, and exchanged their experiences of how progressive education improves student and school performance. The talks are aimed at paving the way for expertise and resources to be shared between schools in Qatar and progressive education institutions around the world. “At QF’s Pre-University Education, we have launched Academyati, the first progressive school under our umbrella,” said Maryam Alhajri, Director of Academyati. “We want to reach out to other progressive schools around the world and that’s why we are excited to have launched the LEAPS Summit. We want to invite schools to come together, talk to each other, and empower each other to explore new ideas in education.”

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The LEAPS Summit saw Ms. Alhajri presented thoughts and ideas on progressive schools that emerged from a recent meeting with international education expert Sir Ken Robinson, whose opinions formed part of a session titled Is There a Need for Progressive Education?, and who said: “More and more people are recognizing that the current systems of education are not working, and the need for change within them. “It is happening in whole countries. Rethinking how schools work based on fundamental principles of human flourishing, breaking down the barriers between ages, breaking down the barriers between disciplines, breaking down the barriers between teachers and students – I think they are key to the future.”

Sessions also focused on creativity, innovation, and the power of the arts in progressive education, and how innovations in Qatar K-12 education can be identified and spread to the world. Speakers at the summit included Dr. Frances Wilby, Head of Education UK, and representatives of progressive education institutions Lumiar Education, which operates in countries including the US, UK, and Brazil; Hub School 21 in France; US-based NuVu Studio and the Center for Artistry and Scholarship; Kingsland Pre-Prep in the UK, the Snehadhara Foundation in India, and Agora School in the Netherlands.