Talking about Education at the Open Government Partnership Global Summit

the end of the first day of the hackathon OGP Toolbox at the Elysée Palace

Last week, France hosted the fourth Open Government Partnership Global (OGP) Summit in Paris. The Partnership gathers today 70 member countries and hundreds of civil society organizations that promote transparency, citizen participation and democratic innovation.

The OGP summit has involved 3000 representatives from 70 countries: Heads of State and governments, ministers, public servants, members of parliament, local authorities, civil society representatives, start-ups and digital innovators, civic techs, developers, researchers, journalists, all gathered in Paris to share their experiences and push forward the open government agenda in light of the global challenges.

Raising awareness about education issues at Elysée Palace

On Wednesday we were at the Elysée Palace with 12 students to participate in the OGP Toolbox Hackathon.

The goal ? To create a platform to gather open gov digital solutions developed by the OGP community. These solutions are open source, they can be shared and reused easily by governments and civic society all over the world.

Open data portals, public consultation platforms, tools for monitoring and co-creating the law, discussion forums, civic tech solutions, online platforms to monitor the implementation of national action plans, etc. : here are some examples of tools you can find in the OGP Toolbox !

But what about the appropriation of these tools by the public and the common knowledge produced by them ?

During their class of Digital Humanities with Professor Aurélien Berra, the students have realized that Wikipedia says almost nothing about Civic Tech (just 2 pages, in english and in french). They decided to update these pages and to create 8 new pages in 8 languages (we have 12 nationalities gathered in the Master! 🌎 ). Wikipedia have the advantage to be free, reusable, already deployed everywhere in the world… and interoperable with the OGP Toolbox.

So during the hackathon, Maria Azi has pitched this project on the stage, in front of a geeky crowd…

“Hey, cool tool! How the Mayor of this little village in countryside who has never heard about Open Gov will find and use this tool?”

Finally, this is all about inclusion. And education of the citizens of tomorrow.

At the end of the day, an other student of the Master, Edgar Ornelas, pitched the idea of “Learning Circle” [REPLAY HERE], a concept from Peer to Peer University. You can learn more about this concept just here. The idea was to implement a “Learning Circle” tour during the OGP Summit to share knowledge and to help exterior people appropriate all these concepts.

Civic Tech face education challenges

On April 2016, a process of co-construction of the program for the OGP summit was launched, in order to build an agenda that reflects the priorities of the participants. We, the Center for Research and Interdisciplinarity and Sciences Po Paris, proposed a session focused on Civic Tech and Education, and we had the chance to be selected among 700 proposals to actually run this session, with the students, during the Summit !

If Civic tech improve democracy and citizen participation, how to make sure that each feels concerned by this revolution ? How to scale these initiatives to be more inclusive ? What about the skills and literacy behind these new tools and what is the role of education to help future citizen acquire these skills ? How education systems should be adapted to train a new generation of citizens able to understand the influence of data and algorithms, to think about inclusive tools for participatory democracy, to co-design new services in the smart city, etc. ? Here are the questions that we tried to tackle during the workshop.

We had the pleasure to host 6 awesome Civic tech initiatives. They explained their challenges focused on education and inclusion and we have worked together to explore solutions and impacts we could have :

  • Cap Collectif : How to generate collective intelligence in middle-school and high-schools ?
  • Accropolis : How to make political debates less annoying and more transparent ?
  • Voxe.org : Young people call young people to action through a Tour de France : what kind of format could we imagine ?
  • DemocracyOS France : How to involve students in the governance of their school / university ?
  • Open Budget : How a budget transparency can be designed to be a relevant tool for citizen empowerment ?
  • Assemblée Virtuelle : How to design a collective intelligence decentralized projects which empowers citizens in political debates ?

You can find the notes written by the students during the session on this Padlet

and the full restitution of the workshop on Periscope :

students and OGP guests during the workshop, 8/12/16. © Ada Loueilh

More than ever, Education has a huge role to define in which democracy we will live tomorrow

François Taddei, the director of the Center for Research and Interdisciplinarity gave the closing speech of the Democracy Night

[REPLAY HERE]

He emphasized the power of the students to change the world. He called for more freedom in the education system, so as to encourage the students to learn through engagement. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) as defined by the United Nations make a relevant base to guide the students in their engagement.

Among all these challenges that the world is facing today, education is the key to solve them all. The very purpose of education is to train future citizens who will make the world a better place.

During these 3 days of Summit, we advocated digital literacy and data literacy in school : democracy revolution is running now, but it will be sustainable and inclusive if and only if we go beyond the political agenda and the tools themselves. We have to think about education now, because “education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”, said Nelson Mandela.


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