Seminar Overview
With the countdown to the 2015 milestones for MDGs and EFA, global conversations are intensifying for a consensus on education challenges with respect to ‘quality’ exacerbating inequality and transition gaps at all levels of the education spectrum from early childhood to tertiary education (Salzburg seminars 2010, 2011 and 2012; Brookings Institute 2011). The ever widening relevance gap for ‘a world we cannot imagine’, inhabited by 7 billion people calls into question the compulsion of perennial renewal of ‘learning’ in a global context and accessible technologies in the classrooms as well as the centrality of the teacher as the universal provocateur and innovator which cannot be minimized.  What does this mean for countries marked by diversity in challenges and resources to define what is doable? 

Large scale annual citizen led assessments in South Asia such as the Annual Status of Education Reports (ASER) by ASER Centre India and SAFED/ITA in Pakistan continue to indicate disparities in learning, equity and access denying millions of children their fundamental right to education. (

From 6-11 December 2011, week long intensive sessions were held at the Salzburg Global Seminar in collaboration with the Education Testing Service (ETS) Princeton Optimizing talent - closing the mobility gaps in education worldwide with 63 participants from China to Chile, South Africa to Pakistan, North America to Egypt. The deliberations highlighted global challenges that cut across geographies and wealth due to constraints of location, gender, cultural practices and resource availability; e.g., the constraints of access and learning levels of Young Black Boys in USA as reported in the ETS Policy Notes “Nationally, graduation rates for Black teens teeter just under 50 percent. And in many large, urban school districts, more than half of Black males drop out of school.“ The seminar strategically explored financing of education, the new players on the global and regional blocks bringing fresh resources, creating innovative investment synergies for high quality education.   

Following the seminar in Salzburg there was a consensus to continue the interrogations at global, regional and local levels. The first in the series is proposed to be held in Pakistan (Lahore) as host to the South Asian and South East Asian region.

To contextualize the challenges of curriculum/learning relevance and inequality (early years to secondary education) reflected in learning outcomes and assessment studies.
To explore good practices and policies for bridging the inequality gaps through contemporary approaches of ‘what works’
To build communities of practice for research, sharing resources and ideas for transformative models of learning
To explore innovative financing options for addressing the quality-inequality gaps
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