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  • Victoria Hekking

Lifelong Learning. Experiencing WISE 2019.

From November 19-21, the World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) brought more than 3500 delegates from over 150 countries to Doha, Qatar under the theme: “UnLearn, ReLearn: What it means to be Human.”



This year was the 10th anniversary of WISE, an organization established under the leadership of Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, the chairperson of Qatar Foundation. WISE was created as a multi-sectoral platform to push the boundaries of innovation and build collaboration to address the future of education worldwide. 


The 2019 summit theme focused on what it means to be human in the age of digital and technological transformation, information overload and artificial intelligence. As this transformation continues to shape our daily lives, how do we learn and relearn skills that allow us to stay relevant in an ever-changing society?


The 3-day summit was packed with workshops, panel discussions, debates, launchpad sessions and meet-up events. The WISE Majlis, an Arabic term that refers to a gathering space, housed interactive sessions, learning labs and

innovative installations with nearly 900

students from around Qatar enjoying the hands-on experiences. 



A personal highlight was a panel discussion chaired by Tony Wan, managing editor of EdSurge, looking at the way forward in terms of tackling the skills gap while maintaining values and quality of education. A live poll in the session revealed that the majority of attendees saw real-world problem-solving to be the key focus of a curriculum seeking to reduce the

skills gap. While this could mean building more experiential and scenario-based learning into workplace training and development, does this translate into credentials employees are confidently adding to their resumés? 


In the Middle East particularly, the focus remains on traditional degrees as valid credentials. According to the International Monetary Fund, more than 60% of the population in the MENA region is under the age of 30 - that’s a large portion requiring quality education and training. There is an opportunity here to transform thinking and the expectations of policymakers when looking at the knowledge and skills of those entering the job market. At the same time it is crucial that higher education institutions build future skills, preparing students to succeed even in careers that may not yet exist.



A key takeaway from my #WISE19 experience is that skills and knowledge are no longer exclusive concepts, and lifelong learning is no longer simply a buzzword. As educators, learning experts, innovators and decision-makers, the challenge is to provide learning experiences that are personal, multidisciplinary, societal and allow for application in a real-world, human context.


It’s not just about what you know, it’s about what you do with what you know.


Tracey-Lee Davis

Learning Solutions Architect