Article by Zuzana Brianza
On the 24th of January, the world will mark the third International Day of Education. The United Nations Assembly mandated that day in 2019 to recognise the important role education plays in achieving targets set out in Agenda 2030.
“Education is the most powerful force in our hands to ensure significant improvements in health, to stimulate economic growth, to unlock the potential and innovation we need to build more resilient and sustainable societies,” Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO Director-General”
The theme for this year’s celebration is ‘Recover and Revitalize Education for the COVID-19 Generation’. With school closures and training programs on hold, education has been disrupted for many. The disruption was particularly serious for those with limited or no access to digital technology. Others had to learn to navigate through the world of online learning, remote working, adopt new skills, embrace new technologies and reach out to new networks. Knowledge sharing and collaboration on both local and global level were in fact identified as an important catalyst for COVID-19 recovery.
Knowledge sharing is also at the heart of the Lockdown Economy, an initiative which has been recognised by the UN as an Acceleration Action towards the Sustainable Development Goals, SDG 4 Quality Education, being one of them.
Lockdown Economy provides a channel where small business owners and entrepreneurs can learn from each other by sharing their stories of overcoming the challenges brought by COVID-19, exchanging ideas and connecting to a worldwide network of entrepreneurs. To date, 187 small business owners were interviewed in 30 countries and in 15 languages, including Tagalog, Urdu, Chinese and Swahili. Local editions were launched to connect entrepreneurs in their geographic location, and the international scope of the initiative provides unique access to innovative ideas and perspectives that inherently embrace multiculturalism, inclusivity and diversity.
Besides promoting knowledge sharing, the Lockdown Economy has another important educational aspect in that it collaborates with Universities and research centres around the world, where the material from interviews and their transcriptions are analysed to extract and share lessons learned. These collaborations are vital, as Universities and research institutions offer access to a specialist network of experts and research that can make a real difference for small businesses, by identifying strategies, new technologies and opportunities for growth.
The ultimate goal is to develop learning materials and manuals based on real case studies that span the globe. Lockdown Economy is currently collaborating with 8 universities. As an example, The Anahuac Mayab University in Mexico hosted a 3-week MBA course based on information provided by the Lockdown Economy and the Epoka University in Albania started an Operations Management Course for 150 Bachelor Students of the 3rd year, using materials obtained through this initiative. Students get the opportunity to learn through real-life examples and develop key entrepreneurial skills such as critical thinking, problem solving and teamwork.
As we celebrate the International Day of Education, let us celebrate the important role the Lockdown Economy plays in facilitating knowledge, actionable insight and valuable connections in the entrepreneurial and academic world, which promote learning opportunities and reinvigorating of local and global communities.
Lockdown Economy: Interviews by think tank AlterContacts.org with real entrepreneurs sharing insights, challenges and successes during the COVID19 global pandemic to inspire, motivate and encourage other entrepreneurs around the world.