World School Forum – 2021
The World School International Forum took place virtually this year due to COVID-19 restrictions. Instead of three student delegates travelling to a host nation, in 2021 with International travel an impossibility in most parts of the world, the forum was conducted online. The actual event took place over three days, where meetings between the host of the forum, Kanto International School, and student delegates from across 15 different countries communicated and exchanged ideas via Zoom meetings.
The Forum being conducted online resulted in a very different experience for the participants, and their experience was obviously not as rich as it would have been if overseas travel and meeting other students from across the world in person had been possible; however, the online forum allowed more representatives from each school to participate in the event and so, as a school, our involvement was actually greater than it has been in the past.
The World School Forum, this year, not surprisingly, had Communication and Collaboration in a post-covid world as it’s overarching theme. St Paul’s had 16 Year 11 students volunteer to take part and these students worked within groups prior to the actual forum taking place to prepare presentations and work on proposals which addressed the key theme of the event.
Across the three days our students were able to watch the presentations put forward by other schools, meet with groups of students from across the world, exchange ideas and simply get to know each other through the online format. Our students worked enthusiastically with their international counterparts in smaller break out groups across the three days, to come up with an overall proposal relating to the theme of Communication and Collaboration post covid. These proposals were then viewed at the completion of the event.
Over the coming weeks there will be follow up, informal meetings between student groups to refine and further develop their initial proposals into finished recommendations. These recommendations will take the form of a call to action and will be presented in the final chapter of the Forum, which will take place over the school holiday period.
The entire event has been evidence that meaningful communication and planning can occur across the globe within schools. The potential for the exchange of ideas and experiences through the technology we have available is really exciting. The World School Forum, despite the fact that it could not actually take place in person, has never been more relevant in relation to what can happen, educationally, in the future.
Our participating students were wonderful ambassadors for St Paul’s and our country, conducting themselves in open and accepting fashion and presenting their ideas with confidence and consideration. Ms Van Rosmalen was the teacher who led the students and did a fantastic job in this very new format. There were some excellent ideas to come out of the World School Forum Online, many to do with the potential for ongoing communication and collaboration exchanges to take place virtually. The success of staging the forum in this context was, itself, evidence that these student-led initiatives could become reality as we move forward into an ever shrinking world.