Director General, WHO Recognizes Pakistan’s Response To COVID-19

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Beaconhouse just launched its latest initiative in response to COVID-19, and we’re beaming with pride. On 10th July 2020, in Lahore Beaconhouse launched its entirely virtual School of Tomorrow (SOT) Conference.

“A World of Tomorrow: Negotiating a Better Future” launched with an exclusive video from none other than Director-General of WHO. While addressing the conference, Dr. Tedros Adhanon Ghebreyesus said, “It’s an honour to join the opening session of the School of Tomorrow Conference. I want to recognise the Government of Pakistan for its comprehensive response to COVID-19.”

Dr. Ghebreyesus moreover acknowledged and appreciated Pakistan’s efforts in countering the pandemic. Ghebreyesus said WHO is also working closely with the Government of Pakistan to ensure the safety of its citizens.

What SOT Is About

The brilliant initiative not only responds to urgencies created by a pandemic but also the other educational shortcomings in our country. The School of Tomorrow conference seeks to understand how COVID-19 is shaping critical global conversations about safer and more balanced futures. It is pushing educators to reimagine the future of education at both school and university levels. The conference continues to stream LIVE on July 11 and 12 on its website (www.sotevents.com) and the social media platforms Facebook and YouTube (Sot Events).

School of Tomorrow panelists
Image Source: Facebook page of SOT events

History of SOT

The non-profit School of Tomorrow Event Series was launched in 2000 and is organized by Beaconhouse as part of its ongoing commitment to its social responsibility. Beaconhouse’s emphasis on bringing about positive social change all the while providing quality education is commendable.

The Enriching Discussions

School of Tomorrow panelists
Image Source: Facebook page of SOT events

Beaconhouse’s CEO, Kasim Kasuri, moderated the opening session of the conference. Among the prestigious guest list were Mr. Andreas Schleicher, the OECD’s Director-General for Education & Skills, Mr. Shafqat Mahmood, Federal Minister of Education, Dr. Mishal Khan, a leading epidemiologist from London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the UK’s leading public health institution, and The Baroness Mobarik CBE, member of the UK’s House of Lords.

School of Tomorrow panelists
Image Source: Facebook page of SOT events

Planning the Future

Mr. Shafqat Mahmood suggested that schools might be reopening around the middle of September. In place of that, he emphasizes the importance of SOPs for students and faculty. He also made it a point to address the issue of girls’ education and low literacy rates in Pakistan. Mr. Mahmood felt that the same remote learning strategies that were being devised for COVID-19 could address both other issues.

School of Tomorrow panelists
Image Source: Facebook page of SOT events

On the other hand, Dr. Mishal Khan stressed that while COVID-19 is severe, it has been overly hyped. “More than 4,000 people die daily from other illnesses like Tuberculosis,” which explains her point of view. She stressed that there are many other diseases and viruses, some much more severe than COVID-19, that we have learned to live with.

His Excellency Omar Bin Sultan Al Olama of UAE, the world’s first minister for Artificial Intelligence, addressed a separate session. His focus was on issues pertinent to digitalization and artificial intelligence.

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A plethora of panel discussions were conducted to create a dialogue of value. They ran concurrently on topics such as freedom to privacy in information societies with rights activists Nighat Dad and Jibran Nasir alongside the UK’s Lord Jim Knight. Academia was also a focal point of the conference. Student perspectives on learning during lockdowns, designing schools of tomorrow with award-winning international architects, and more were discussed too.

Parliamentary-style debates explored the necessity of the lockdown and the effectiveness of online learning for younger children. Issues surrounding environment & climate change were emphasized in discussion with nature conservationists like Hammad Naqi, CEO of WWF-Pakistan, and other esteemed panelists.

Beaconhouse SOT Events, most importantly, are made possible by the generous support of corporate sponsors. The organizers acknowledge the support of United Bank Limited as the Lead Sponsor for SOT Edition XI.

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