In celebration of World Environmental Education Day, the Network of Forest Schools of the Andean Chocó and Condesan – as the Andean Forests Programme – organised the ” Experiential Education Forum: rethinking education with the Forest Schools of the Andean Chocó“
The event was held in the last week of January 2020, with the aim of reflecting on education, especially in the current context of the global pandemic, and to discuss the “forest school methodology” with other national and regional initiatives, with a view to replication and scaling up.
The methodology was jointly designed and implemented and had the support of the Ministry of Education. It began in 2017 and focuses on providing pedagogical tools to create an identity link between children and young people in the public education system and the ecosystems of the Andean Chocó.
The Forum was very well received from the start. This was reflected in the number of registrations and finally within the forum itself and the people who followed it on social networks. Participants included teachers, district school principals, educators, representatives of civil society agencies, parents, and other stakeholders linked to public and private education, from different regions of Ecuador and from a variety of countries in the Andean region and beyond.
Figures showing impact:
- Zoom attendees 25 January: 175
- Zoom attendees 26 January: 200
- Viewers on FB Live 25 January: 3,100
- Viewers on FB Live 26 January: 2,000
- 985 registered from 11 countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Spain, United States, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay
- 12,100 people reached and 1683 interacted
Discussions covered the chances of scaling up the “forest school methodology” to high-school level, its application in public areas (ARVI Park in Medellin), and how it complements comprehensive education models that focus on education in values.
The pandemic has provoked a crisis in education systems worldwide. Civil society has an opportunity to formulate proposals that transform the old anachronistic models of teaching and learning, linking education with experience-based methodologies such as the forest schools.
There remains much to discuss regarding the challenges of continuing to replicate the experiences of “experiential education”, and the role of public planning tools, such as territorial education plans, so that, without losing their potential as local and diverse initiatives, they can act in a cohesive and critical manner over against government education management structures.
About Andean Forests (Bosques Andinos)
The Andean Forests Programme is implemented in the Andean countries, and is part of SDC’s Global Programme on Climate Change and Environment. It is facilitated by the Helvetas Peru – CONDESAN consortium.