Education/Newsletter/April 2017/Building a global network for Education

Building a global network for Education


Author: Anna Torres (WMAR)
Michal Lester לסטר

How many education programs are there around the Wikimedia movement? How many volunteers involved? How are the programs built? What are their challenges?

How important is education to define the strategy of the Wikimedia movement?

With these questions in mind, on March 30, 2017, Wikimedia Israel, Wikimedia Argentina and WMF’s Education Program promoted an education track during the Wikimedia Conference in Berlin.

Our goals were clear. Education programs are scattered around the movement. Whether through chapter’s work or by involving hundred of volunteers who believe Wikipedia belong in Education for 21st century skills development, Education programs are increasingly important within the Wikimedia movement, among other reasons because:

  • They favor the development of new editors that create quality content.
  • They can be a response to the problem of the gender digital gap.
  • We develop critical thinking in students.

For these reasons, we promoted an education meeting with the main objective of creating a worldwide network between affiliates that lead an education program aiming to learn from each other and design a common strategy to influence the definition of the movement's strategy for 2030.

What happened and where are we going now?

The education track was framed in WMF’s learnings days, prior to the central days of the conference in Berlin. For 4 hours we worked to get to know each other better, to generate a network of trust and mutual work and to meet the different challenges that we had as a group. We started by presenting the different education initiatives that are around the movement. Positioning different approaches depending on different contexts is extremely valuable in understanding plurality, to improve the visibility and ensure the right support to the different education proposals.

Also, we realize that most of the education program share the same challenges regardless of their contexts:

How do we scale up an education program to make it sustainable? What tools are needed for teachers to drive Wikipedia in the classroom? How do we measure impact on education programs?

Sharing challenges means having a challenge and an opportunity ahead. On the one hand as affiliates with education programs we must be able to work together, generate a common working space where we can develop proposals and generate better channels of communication where to share results, successes and failures of similar projects. On the other hand, we have a great opportunity. Being able to set common goals in education that were cross-cutting in each context could be a great opportunity to generate a global alliance of education programs around the movement. This could translate into generating more and better mutual aid, giving more and better visibility to educational proposals around the world and being able to develop learning guides that could give a global response to these challenges.

To take advantage of this opportunity we must improve much more than communication, which is also extremely important. We must be able to build an organized and inclusive movement of the different education programs, to promote the affiliates and volunteers education proposals. Each of the existing educational proposals within the Wikimedia movement pursue the same objective: to make knowledge the bridge of access to quality education for all. To date +90 educational initiatives have been carried out within the movement, many of them with little help.

Can you imagine what would we be able to do if we would work all together?

Together, we can change the way education is built and make education a real right for all.