[RE]LEARN 2020 - The Learning Innovation Festival has ended
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Thursday, November 12 • 12:00 - 12:15
There is no change, no social justice, and no equity, without mindset change

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There never was a more pressing time to address our values framework and the requisite mindset change, without which, discrimination, violence and injustice continue unabated across our world. The session is aimed in particular at policymakers within the early education base, early years teachers and practitioners, parents who care about the future wellbeing of their children, and indeed, anyone who cares about racial and gender equity, dignity, and prosocial attitudes and behaviours.

The journey and its concomitant insights that brought me to found the Think Equal NGO was the greatest learning experience of my life, and part of the ambition I have in presenting the keynote is to convey that learning to others. I came to realise that the disease we battle with in equity and social injustice in the world concerned, is the discriminatory mindset. The violence, abuse and pain that emanate from it are merely the symptoms of that disease. I learnt that unless we tackle the root cause of injustice, discrimination and inequality within education, nothing will change. Law is trumped by culture; violence begets violence; the more immured we become to abuse, the more it proliferates and the more normalised it becomes. We must stop plastering over the wounds. We must wake up out of a deep sleepwalking that has led us to be neglectful of the very opportunity we have to lay foundations for positive outcomes in life – early childhood. We must even-handedly teach the critical competencies and skills in social and emotional learning to our children, starting from the earliest age possible.

The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown into high relief the inequity and injustice that predated the pandemic. It has defined the darkness. But I believe we must now use it to defy the darkness. It has encouraged us to recalibrate our priorities and forced us to reimagine what is needed from education. We are forced to address wellbeing through education, because of the mental health challenges and crisis that the pandemic has brought in its wake. Added to this, there is a loud and insistent clock ticking on Agenda 2030. If we stand a chance of achieving anything substantial of the UN SDGs, we must act with urgency right now. We must stop our globalised apathy and inclination towards measuring things for the sake of measuring them, endlessly discussing theoretical notions, all of which delays action. Action is now the single most important pre-requisite for achieving equity, social justice and wellbeing, for people and planet.

avatar for Leslee Udwin

Leslee Udwin

Founder of THINK EQUAL, Think Equal
Leslee Udwin founded Think Equal in 2016 with the mission to affect a system change in education, by bringing the missing subject of social and emotional learning to the core centre of early years education. Think Equal is now impacting 77,000 children in 14 countries in 6 continents... Read More →

Thursday November 12, 2020 12:00 - 12:15 CET