The inaugural US-China Youth Forum on Youth Education was organized by Alpha Partners Education, hosted by Keystone Academy and attended by 100 students and 66 educators from 47 schools across 13 Chinese provinces and 9 US states.
The opening ceremony included a performance Mingyuan Institute of Education
Laboratory Primary School Choir (北京明远教育书院实验小学合唱团), speeches from Alpha Partners Education co-founder Stewart Johnson, Keystone Academy Head of School Malcolm McKenzie and awards presented to the winners of the Alpha Exchange visual essay contest.
Following the opening ceremony, everyone posed for a group picture before teachers departed for their dedicated workshop while students listened to a panel discussion featuring insights from young education-oriented professionals based in China. These included Vits Voronkov (co-founder of Valeon and former Rhodes Scholar), Shu Cao Mao (Regional Director of Minerva Schools for Asia and Oceania and a graduate of the Harvard School of Education), and Thomas Cheng (Head of International Partnerships for TAL Education Group and an alumnus of Teach for China). The panelists discussed questions related to the internationalization of education, technology's impact on education, and educational inequality. The session concluded with several thought-provoking student questions on how historical narratives are presented in school curricula and on how enhanced educational opportunities would impact the global economy.
After the panel concluded, students participated in breakout sessions on one of ten pressing topics in global education. These were: Green Education, Education and Technology, Inequality in Education, Facing History, International Education, Ways of Learning, Learning Environments, Student Empowerment, Future of Education, and Education for Life. Students were invited to open up a secret envelope that had been included in their welcome pack to discover which of the ten sessions they would attend. After gathering together in the correct classroom, students were guided in their discussion by Beijing-based professionals and master's students with an interest in education. Each group discussion centered around identifying specific problems in the educational status quo and coming up with innovative ideas to solve them. The sessions were characterized by thoughtful discussion and a lively exchange of ideas between students while facilitators guided the groups with probing questions.
Finally, students presented their thoughts in graphical form on a large whiteboard and invited other groups of students to discuss and comment on their ideas. The breakout sessions provided students with a valuable opportunity to consider some of the larger problems facing young people and to engage in dialogue on the subject with people from other backgrounds.
Click here to view photos of the event.