Education Beyond 2021: Conference Summary

5th ASIC Conference and 1st Virtual Conference. Over 2 Days. 8 Keynote Speakers and 28 Speakers from 13 countries.  447 attendees from 37 countries. 24 Awards (see full list below). A lot of enthusiasm… and lots of cups of tea – at least at our end!

Thank you for joining us! Your interest, energy, and support have made getting to grips with e-conferencing thoroughly worth it.

Chairman’s address and ASIC mission

Our Chairman, Dr Maurice Dimmock, acknowledged how difficult the past year has been for us all and that universities, schools, and colleges worldwide have had to close and move their programs online. He also emphasised that the challenges inherent in providing quality education during the pandemic have been further compounded by the complexities of looking after the wellbeing of students and staff. (Especially with Zoom Fatigue setting in!)

The disruption of education affects everyone – especially the most vulnerable. “Do we go back to our previous way of delivering education in the new norm, or have we learnt some valuable lessons from the pandemic?” Dr Dimmock argued that now is the time to reimagine education. He said, in order to do this, we must focus our efforts on the training of teachers and educational managers to bridge the digital divide; rethink curricula to equip learners (at all levels) with the skills and knowledge to flourish in our rapidly changing world; be watchful regarding the wellbeing of both students and staff. 

He expressed his pride in the ASIC accredited institutions that demonstrate the ASIC ethos of duty of care to students, staff, and academic process throughout their operations. He then discussed the ongoing issue of inclusivity within the sector and urged all institutions to take this seriously – so that no student is left disadvantaged. He asked that we commit to promoting education for all – today and every day. Dr Dimmock closed his opening remarks with a plea: “education is not just about academic excellence, so let’s work together to make education a vehicle to foster social justice, peace, respect for diversity, human rights and democratic values.”

Exploring new horizons for international education: meeting the United Nations SDGs

Following the opening address, 36 speakers from 13 countries spoke on a range of topics related to education delivery post-pandemic. Speakers included Dr Tayseer Al Noaimi (Minister of Education, Jordan), Dr Farzana Abdulla Al-Maraghi (Higher Education Council, Bahrain), Dr Claire Hagen Alvarado (Professional Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education) and Lisa Ann Kaminski (Director, Harvard Institutes for Higher Education), Duncan Ross (Times Higher Education) and Ben Schmidt (Regional Director Southeast Asia & Pacific, Cambridge Assessment International Education). 

They discussed topics including the changing landscape of education; the need for new forms of training; development of technology in delivering high-quality education; the benefits of blended learning systems; the importance of international accreditation; mobile phone applications; reaching the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals; comparison and assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of world university rankings and the work of THE Impact Rankings to address this; and inclusivity, diversity, and equality in education.

Quality education for all

Dr Paul Charles delivered the closing address and gave a rousing and passionate talk about the need for all of us to act now in confronting the issues of inclusivity, diversity, and equality in education. The conference then culminated with the Award Ceremony, where institutions were presented with certificates and trophies for their work in developing inclusive campuses (see below for the list of winners). RMUTT (Thailand) received a special award for developing Enterprise Initiatives in their local community. Our Chairman then presented 5 Fellowship Awards to academics who had demonstrated Outstanding Service in international education.

Inclusivity Awards 2021 – Winners

AIMSMET (ASIA Metropolitan University), Malaysia
Equality and Diversity

ELM School, Somaliland
Development of an ethos of Inclusivity

Dhofar University, Oman
Promoting opportunities for people with a disability

IBS College, Malaysia
Promotion of Equal Access for all

London American City College, UAE
Promotion of Equal Access for all

Management & Science University (MSU), Malaysia
Equality in education

Oxford College of Education, UK
Inclusivity through information technology

Pegaso Online University (Universita’ Telematica Pegaso), Italy
Promotion of opportunities for Persons with Disabilities

Prince Sattam Bin Abdulaziz University, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Advancement of Disability Inclusion

Rajamangala University of Technology Thanyaburi, Thailand
Effective adoption of a philosophy of Inclusivity

Royal University for Women, Bahrain
Promotion of Gender Equality

Sotpattana School for the Deaf, Thailand
Providing opportunities for children with disabilities and development of an ethos of Religious Tolerance

The Public Authority for Applied Education and Training, Kuwait
Development of an ethos of Inclusivity

Universitas Islam Riau, Indonesia
Development of an ethos of Inclusivity

University Ibn Khaldoun, Tunis
Inclusivity, Diversity, and Equality

University of Petra, Jordan
Effective adoption of a philosophy of overall Inclusivity

Zurich Elite Business School, Switzerland
Inclusiveness in a cultural setting

Universitas Prof. Dr. Moestopo, Indonesia
The advancement of Religious Tolerance

Fellowship Award 2021 – Winners

Asst. Prof. Dr Boontida Uapipatanakul
Dr Anas Alsoud
Dr Simone Slabbert
Dr  Edward Roy Krishnan
Prof Dr Mohd Shukri Ab Yajid

Enterprise Award 2021 – Winner

Rajamangala University of Technology Thanyaburi, Thailand
Enterprise in the Community