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Thursday, 23 April 2015 08:02

2013 WISE Prize for Education laureate speaks at AUN’s 7th commencement

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Saturday, May 9, 2015, the American University of Nigeria ((AUN) in Yola, will play host to the winner of the 2013 World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) Prize, Ms. Vicky Colbert. According to a release made available to New by AUN’s Office of Communications & Public Relations, Colbert was chosen as the Varsity’s 7th Commencement Speaker because she has “revolutionized education in the developing world.

“We are all so happy that an educator as internationally known and distinguished has found the time to visit us. As Africa’s first development university, we are anxious to hear of her wonderful experiences in the developing world, where her work has brought education and hope to so many millions of children across the globe,” said AUN President, Professor Margee Ensign.

Colbert is the Founder and Director of Fundación Escuela Nueva, and co-creator of the Escuela Nueva (New School) pedagogical model, initiated in rural Colombia in 1975 in response to problems of education, incomplete schooling, high dropout rates, high repetition, weak school-community relationships, low teacher morale, ineffective teacher training and the lack of learning materials.

Escuela Nueva model places pupils at the heart of the learning process. Teachers become facilitators, and the process involves the entire community, bringing learners’ daily lives into their education.  “She has devoted her life to promoting schools based on its pedagogy, ensuring its quality and sustainability over time, innovating and adapting it to different contexts and countries, ensuring that it has an impact on national policies, and keeping it in the educational public agenda,” said the release.

As AUN currently strives to feed and educate over 200,000 children out of about 400,000 internally displaced persons in Yola due to Boko Haram attacks, Colbert’s Escuela Nueva model which has become a part of Colombia’s national education policy and has been adapted to urban and displaced populations, with a significant impact on academic achievement, could be one of the best solutions.

According to UNESCO, Escuela Nueva helped Colombia achieve a high-ranking rural education system. The World Bank in 1989, described the model as “one of the three most outstanding reforms in the developing countries worldwide that has gone to national scale.”

Ms. Colbert whose educational model impacted millions of students in16 countries where it has been successfully implemented, began her work in Colombia, where she faced challenges in trying to bring high quality education to the impoverished rural people of that nation.  Her new model of teaching and learning has won her praise worldwide, and her methods have been widely emulated, with success, not just in Latin America but far beyond.

Colbert has held many official posts, including Vice-Minister of Education of Colombia and UNICEF Regional Education Adviser for Latin American and the Caribbean (LAC) Region. She has also garnered countless awards, including the first Clinton Global Citizenship Award.

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