As the war drew to a close, the Bretton Woods conference was the culmination of some two and a half years of planning for postwar reconstruction by the Treasuries of the U.S. and the UK. U.S. representatives studied with their British counterparts the reconstitution of what had been lacking between the two world wars: a system of international payments that would allow trade to be conducted without fear of sudden currency depreciation or wild fluctuations in exchange rates—ailments that had nearly paralyzed world capitalism during the Great Depression. (source: Wikipedia)
Over the past month or so it's been my privilege to work with a group of thought leaders here in Christchurch, each with a broad background in education and futures thinking. The group was convened by Dr Cheryl Doig, one of our CORE Education board members, and was established in response to the Christchurch earthquake to create a vision for the future of schooling in the city. Since the earthquake there has been a lot of work required to be done to resolve the immediate needs of schools, teachers and students – the case of the co-located schools being one example. Throughout this time there has been a constant reference to 'going back' to their original sites, and resuming their normal routines, which is the phase we're in now.
But what will the new 'normal' be like? Certainly it isn't what we had before. What are the new opportunities this experience may have opened up for us in the city – to re-think education at a systemic level, to create new and refreshed experiences of learning for our young people, to capture the imaginiations of a new generation of teachers and school leaderrs in terms of preparing students for their future and not our past?
These are the questions our group has been thinking about. Cheekily named SUCE (Shaking Up Christchurch Education) we've set about drawing together a range of ideas to consider how the greater Christchurch area might use current opportunities brought about by the Canterbury earthquakes, to transform our education system into something world class.
The result of our activity so far is the development of a concept plan, Opportunities and challenges: Creating a compelling vision and direction for education in Christchurch which outlines four principles that could guide our thinking as we redesign learning in our city.
Our group, Shaking Up Christchurch Education network, doesn't have all the answers. It does want to explore ideas and get people thinking about possibilities. If you're interested, download the concept plan and add your thoughts and comments to the ongoing discussion.
Amid the effort and energy that is being expended on the urgent and immediate needs around the city, it's important that we also take the opportunity to think ahead – to accomplish what the Bretton Woods conference did for the Western world at a time most were focused on simply getting their war-torn lives back to normal.