Valuable light was shed on the need to design and launch a new ASPnet ICT Pilot Project at the International Conference on “ICTs and Quality Education: UNESCO ASPnet on the Way towards a School of the Future” which was held in Kazan, Tatarstan from 26-27 April 2011. Emphasis was placed on the integration of ICT in schools and the capacity building of teachers in this respect. Due attention was drawn to the need to close the current digital gap between students, parents, teachers and civil society. The Kazan Conference underlined the need for new partnerships i.e. to set up effective mechanisms of cooperation between ASPnet teachers and UNESCO Chair Holders, as well as between schools and private ICT companies and ICT experts. With regard to the concept of ‘Learning For the Future’ (LFF), the joint role of ASPnet and UNESCO Chairs in integrating ICT as well as the principles, values and good practices in support of sustainable development was deemed to be particularly important.

At the recent 36th Session of the UNESCO General Conference held in Paris in October/November 2011, Member States once again spoke out loud and clearly. Access to quality education for all (EFA) remains the number one priority of the Organization. In the proposals and priorities presented by the Education Sector, a call was also made for significant strides to be made in enhancing the role of ICT in improving quality education and lifelong learning. Special attention was given to the improvement of:

  • pre-service and in-service teacher training,
  • a more relevant curriculum responding to the needs of today and of tomorrow,
  • the provision of entrepreneurial skills for young people,
  • greater gender equality,
  • the incorporation of values (e.g. peace, democracy, non-violence and responsible citizenship)
  • the strengthening of partnerships at all levels with all stakeholders in education.

The overriding objective of the LFF Pilot Project aims to fully integrate the effective use of ICT in education, to renew pedagogy and enhance learning — now and for the future.

The Project has been designed to achieve, inter alia, the following three goals:

i) To enable teachers and students to better comprehend the transformation of societies due to the impact of ICTs and future trends expected in this field

ii) To ensure an integrated and more effective use of ICTs in strengthening the four pillars of learning for the 21st Century and the overall school environment: learning to know, learning to do, learning to be, learning to live together

iii) To develop new educational approaches and experiment and develop new learning materials, with the help of ICT, in support of a sustainable future and a “New Humanism”

On 28-29 March, 2012 the International UNESCO IITE/ASPnet Workshop “Learning For the Future” was organized in Riga (Republic of Latvia). This Workshop was a sub-regional meeting of UNESCO IITE experts, high-level officials of the National Commissions for UNESCO, regional national ASPnet coordinators, representatives of the UNESCO Associated schools on the launching of the UNESCO IITE Pilot Project “Learning For the Future” (LFF). The participants discussed what is the role of National Commissions for promoting interregional projects, what support can be offered and is expected of National Commissions for such pilot projects, what could be the inputs of this project to the C/4, C/5 and post 2015 agenda. Besides, they discussed the finalization of the LFF project guidelines; selection of schools, teachers and students; selection of project topics; possible twinning; etc. The questionnaires for schools, teachers and students were distributed.

On 5 - 10 September 2012 in the framework of the International Conference of the UNESCO IITE and UNITWIN/UNESCO Chairs “UNESCO Chairs Partnership on ICTs use in Education” which took place in Saint-Petersburg, Russian Federation within the XIII International Forum «Modern information society formation - problems, perspectives, innovation approaches» the Section 3 “Interaction of the UNITWIN/ UNESCO Chairs Network with UNESCO ASPnet and UNEVOC Centers“ was organized to establish the interaction and elaborate the trends of collaboration within the framework of UNESCO IITE pilot project “Learning For the Future” (LFF) and UNEVOC Centres;  to determine the UNESCO Chairs’ role in the implementation of the UNESCO IITE pilot project “Learning For the Future” (LFF); to elaborate the mechanism for evaluation of the results of activities achieved within the UNESCO IITE pilot project “Learning For the Future” (LFF). The main issues of further development of the IITE Pilot Project “Learning For the Future” (LFF), and ASPnet and UNITWIN/UNESCO Chairs interaction were brainstormed at the special Expert Meeting held on 6 September 2012. Finally, a Work Plan was created, discussed and recommended for action.

On 13-14 May 2013 in the city of Kazan (Russian Federation) the UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education in close cooperation with UNESCO Moscow office, Commission of the Russian Federation for UNESCO,  Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Tatarstan, University of Management “TISBI”, UNESCO Chair in Training and Retraining of Specialists under Market Economy Conditions and National Coordination Center of the UNESCO Associated Schools  of the Russian Federation  organized the International Conference of UNESCO IITE, UNESCO Associated Schools, UNITWIN/UNESCO Chairs and UNEVOC Centres “Improving the Mechanisms of Cooperation between UNESCO ASPnet, UNITWIN/UNESCO Chairs and UNEVOC Centres for Sustainable Development: Challenges, Projects, Prospects”. The conference was devoted to the 60th Anniversary of the UNESCO ASPnet and became a platform to cross-share policies, best practices and lessons learnt in integrating ICT into the education systems via implementation of the UNESCO IITE Pilot project “Learning For the Future”.

At present the LFF Project united 14 countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria, Estonia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Russian Federation, Tajikistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. In each participating country the Ministry of Education and the National Commission for UNESCO approved the list of the participating schools. 42 secondary UNESCO ASPnet schools were involved in the project. Each participating school prepared pre-questionnaires for schools, teachers and students and virtual visit-cards (presentations) of their schools. The majority of schools-LFF participants took part in the competition on the best emblem for the project “Learning For the Future” and the final voting organized in the framework of the International conference in Kazan (Russian Federation, 13-14 May 2013) nominated the emblem prepared by the Baku European Lyceum (Azerbaijan) to be the winner.

At present UNESCO IITE a Portal for the UNESCO IITE Pilot Project “Learning For the Future” (  http://lff.iite.unesco.org/ ) is opened. Please, join us!