Skip to main content
Upcoming Event

Citizens of the future: Innovations to leapfrog global education

The world is facing an urgent learning crisis. Experts predict that, by 2030, 825 million children in low- and middle-income countries—half of today’s youth generation—will reach adulthood without the skills they need to thrive in work and life. More worrisome still, it will take approximately 100 years for the most marginalized youth to achieve the learning levels that the wealthiest enjoy today. Confronted with these pervasive and persistent inequalities, we must make room for bold new approaches that have the potential to deliver quality learning for all children and youth, not in a century, but today.

On May 21, 2018, the Center for Universal Education at Brookings (CUE) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) will host an international conference which will focus on the potential of education innovations to rapidly accelerate progress in global education.Citizens of the Future - May 21

The conference will convene a global community of education innovators, funders, policymakers, and practitioners to explore the promise of leapfrogging in education—rapidly accelerating educational progress to ensure that all young people develop the skills they need to thrive in a fast-changing world. Through a series of conversations bridging educational research and practice, participants will contribute to the global innovations community and leave with actionable insights into how they might orient their work toward a leapfrog vision of education and ultimately help our children and youth build the skills they need to constructively address the problems of tomorrow.

Please contact with any questions.




Session 1: Accelerating progress in education to develop citizens of the future

Universal public education is traditionally seen as the one sure means to promote widespread economic and social advancement. Yet, around the world, education is increasingly fueling inequality. Do innovations hold the potential to leapfrog education, ensuring that every young person develops the full set of skills they need to thrive in the future? Through a discussion of new research from the Center for Universal Education, this session will lay the foundation for the day’s focus on innovative practices for teachers and teaching.

Session 2: Unburdening teachers: Harnessing the power of community expertise and technology

In the rush to crowd innovative programming into classrooms across the globe, we often lose sight of the outsized burden that teachers already shoulder. Research shows that teachers in almost every country are regularly tasked with a long list of responsibilities—from administrative duties to assisting in school-wide functions—that have little to do with igniting meaningful learning in their classrooms. To achieve a true leap forward in global education, teachers must be supported by a diversity of people, places, and tools. This session will consider how education innovations can elevate and support teachers to facilitate transformative learning.  Innovators, educators, and researchers will discuss these issues, moderated by USA-Today’s Education Editor and gaming in education expert, Greg Toppo.

Session 3: Innovations in teacher training: A key element in developing the education workforce

Teachers are perhaps the most important actors in students’ educational careers. Time and again, research from the learning sciences point to the fact that changes in teaching practice yield some of the highest returns on student learning. Of course, teachers must be empowered with the skills and knowledge needed to effectively implement such transformative educational practices. As such, any leap forward in global education will undoubtedly rely on a diverse and talented contingent of educators. However, research by the Center for Universal Education has uncovered a worrisome lack of attention to teacher training in innovations across the world. This panel will highlight gaps, trends, and promising practices in innovations that are working to develop the skills and knowledge of educators and school leaders.

Session 4: What is next for the education innovations community?

Education innovation is taking root across the globe with robust communities of experimentation happening in all continents. From the highest-performing countries to the lowest, actors around the world are actively experimenting with novel ways to improve learning. With such a diversity of innovations, how do education stakeholders learn from each other and ultimately determine what practices to adopt?


This is where “Innovation Spotters” come in. Innovation Spotters are a diverse cohort of organizations actively searching the globe to find, highlight, and sometimes fund education innovations. But how can these actors translate their spotting work into true educational transformation on the ground and ultimately help education leapfrog? In this session, a panel of Innovation Spotters will discuss the role of innovation spotting and grapple with the question of what comes next for the education innovation community.

Session 5: Wine, cheese, and education innovations in practice

The word “innovation” is often thrown around in the education community without clear definition. Over drinks and food, participants will get a chance to engage with over 15 innovators from around the world who will bring the term to life through hands-on demonstrations of the sorts of education practices that hold the potential to contribute to a global leap forward.

More Information

To subscribe or manage your subscriptions to our top event topic lists, please visit our event topics page.

Get a weekly events calendar from Brookings