Engaging our Region - Asia-Pacific Webinar Series
The COVID-19 global pandemic was declared by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in March 2020 and has deeply challenged nation states in responding to the pandemic itself and to cascading health, social and economic crises. In response to this crisis RCE Greater Western Sydney, RCE Srinagar and RCE East Kalimantan, with support from RCE East Java (candidate), organised a series of webinars to reconnect with the RCE community and to learn from each other about how each RCE is responding to this pandemic through varying themes. Through the internartional webinar series, the RCE Network has proved to be an excellent platform from which to collaborate, respond, support each other and build an inclusive society. It also highlighted that RCEs must continue to discuss and further cultivate intra- and inter-RCE collaboration. The initiatives and insights shared in all webinars could and have begun to influence policymaking. Seven international webinars were held from March - October, and engaged with 1,300 virtual practitioners across the series.
This initative recieved an 'Acknowledged Flagship Project' Award in 2020 for its role in contributing to SDG3: Good Health and Well-being. This award is given annually to RCEs that have made outstanding contributions to address local sustainable development challenges in their regions.
ESD Action in COVID-19 Era: Experiences of RCEs of Asia Pacific Region
"As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic we all are passing through a very challenging and uncertain time. To contain the pandemic most countries have imposed national emergencies, lock downs and several restrictions. Schools and academic institutions in over 191 countries are closed giving way to online learning. Over 1.3 billion school children are at home, many taking online lessons. Offices are working online. Social distancing, stay home, hand hygiene, keeping healthy and fit, maintaining good immunity are the only available vaccine and medicine at the moment. Amidst the challenges, we are sure, most of us have found several ways of converting the challenge of staying at home into various innovative and meaningful opportunities." Dr Abdhesh Kumar, RCE Srinagar, India
RCE Greater Western Sydney and RCE Srinagar held a webinar titled 'ESD Action in COVID-19 Era: Experiences of RCEs of the Asia Pacific Region' on 14 May, 9 June and 11 June. The webinar was attended by over 200 people from across the Asia-Pacific, as well as other regions. Thrity-four Asia-Pacific RCEs from Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Thialand and the Republic of Korea made presentations, highlighting the impacts of the pandemic on education centres, the switch to online delivery modes, and consideration factors to take into account such as technology skills and access. However in the midst of these changes, it has opened up greater opportunities for collaboration, and the sharing of skills and knowledge, providing the time to reflect and develop new modalities. The range of communication tools and new ways of working were discussed, as were innovative solutions, such as virtual fieldwork. The pandemic has provided opportunities to implement new learning methods, to rethink the skills and learning outcomes of educational programmes, and further highlighted the importance of valuing the skills within communities. Representatives from RCEs in America, UK and Africa also joined each of the sessions to share their activities and COVID impacts. The full webinar series report (PDF, 12202.38 KB) (opens in a new window) is available to download, and outlines each presentations action and impact against COVID-19.
Bridging the Disconnect: Engaging and Learning in the Digital Divide
RCE Greater Western Sydney hosted a virtual roundtable discussion, 'Bridging the Disconnect – Engaging and Learning in the Digital Divide' on 25 June, 2020. The aim of the event was to foster discussion, collaboration and sharing of innovative forms of engagement and learning - going far and beyond most obvious solutions - with communities who are not able to connect digitally or not accustomed to the ‘new normal’ of being online due to the implications of COVID-19. Facilitated by Dr. Zinaida Fadeeva, three presenters from RCE Pune, RCE Greater Phnom Penh, and RCE Bangalore presented on their community projects from WASH to Farming, as well as their mechanisms of engaging in an intimate discussion. Over 25 virtual participants joined the discussion from RCEs in the Asia-Pacific and African regions. A recording is also available to watch here. Presentation materials are below:
Youth and Sustainability in COVID Era: A Webinar of RCEs of Asia-Pacific Region to mark the International Youth Day 2020
Young people are powerful agents of change and progress when they are educated and empowered to participate in decision-making. Yet around the world, too many youths are being left behind. This year's International Youth Day theme put a spotlight on youth engagement. In celebration, RCE Greater Western Sydney and RCE Srinagar co-hosted a webinar 'Youth and Sustainability in a COVID Era', which was attended by over 100 participants across the Asia-Pacific, including 37 RCEs within the region.
The webinar featured 18 youth presenters from RCE Greater Western Sydney, RCE Sundarbans, RCE Hangzhou, RCE Srinagar, RCE East Kalimantan, RCE Yogyakarta, RCE Hyogo-Kobe, RCE Kitakyushu, RCE Greater Gombak, RCE Kuching, RCE Waikato, and RCE Sakon Nakhon. The presentations strongly highlighted RCEs' efforts in supporting ESD, growing partnerships and addressing the SDGs. It also showed how RCEs are working to build young people's capabilities, particularly women and Indigenous communities, by sharing knowledge and supporting practical and engaging activities, from improving livelihoods to action on climate change. This also supported the RCE SDG Youth Challenge 2020 - Youth for the Goals.
Presentations and other webinar materials (opens in a new window) are available online.