Iceland hosts Education for Tomorrow conference
The conference took place in Reykjavik’s magnificent concert and conference centre, Harpa, and kicked off with an opening seminar entitled “Shaping the future of Nordic education”. Iceland’s Minister of Education, Science and Culture Illugi Gunnarsson gave the opening remarks. He emphasised that the Nordic countries must adapt their educational systems to future needs and noted that the countries share many common challenges in spite of their differences.
After Hallgrímur Jónasson offered the audience insight into Iceland’s priority areas in research and technology, Monica Menapace, from the European Commission’s DG for Research and Innovation, took the floor. Menapace is responsible for educational research under the EU’s Horizon 2020 and presented the programme from an educational perspective and discussed the existent research opportunities.
Challenged the audience
Fittingly, the next speaker was Lejf Moos, President of the European Educational Research Association. He followed up with a thorough analysis of Horizon 2020 from the association’s point of view. In his concluding remarks, Mr Moos challenged both the European Commission and the audience to think along new and different lines with regard to educational research.
Unique research programme
Although the primary objective of the Education for Tomorrow programme is to strengthen the region’s position in educational research, the aim of the conference was to present results from the first year of activity and the projects’ future plans, and to cultivate stronger ties between the project participants.
Professor Mary James of Cambridge University, who chairs the Education for Tomorrow programme’s Scientific Advisory Board, was pleased to be attending the conference.
“One of the most interesting aspects of the Education for Tomorrow programme is its unique starting point. Internationally there is an increasing market-oriented focus in education, whereas this research programme views education as a common social good. The approach that education has close ties to welfare is rather exceptional for the Nordic countries and something that is important to maintain,” says Professor James.
Looking forward to future results
After hearing the projects’ presentations, Professor James is eagerly anticipating the future results.
“Of course there are few results to present after one year of research, but I found it very interesting to listen to the presentations, and I am looking forward to the conferences in the coming years,” she concludes.
About the Education for Tomorrow programme
The Education for Tomorrow programme was launched in 2013. It has been on the political agendas of the Nordic countries for several years, and a range of studies and national consultations were carried out to identify the relevant thematic areas. A Nordic Centre of Excellence and six research projects are funded under the programme.
Photo: NordForsk and Kristín Bogadóttir