President Pelonis moderates a panel on the future of education

The President of ACS Athens Dr. Peggy Pelonis, accepting an invitation by the American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce and its Corporate Responsibility Committee, participated as a moderator in one of the panels at its 19th Annual Corporate Responsibility Conference, Citizen Sustain: Building a Better Urban Future, on September 30, 2021. The event was conducted on a hybrid model, at the Grand Hyatt Athens Hotel with physical and online participation. 

Dr. Pelonis moderated a panel in the e-Education session that offered delegates insights that advance the agenda of urban resilience and sustainability in the post-pandemic era. Members of the panel were: Deputy Minister of Education Angelos Syrigos, Panteion University Professor Ioannis Filos, and London Business School Professor Giorgos Mylonadis.

"Moderating a panel on e-education with Deputy Minister Syrigos and Professors Filos and Mylonadis was indeed enlightening. It is very rewarding to know that topics such as The Future of Education and takeaways from the pandemic are at the forefront," said ACS Athens President Pelonis after the event.

The conference, through a multidimensional theme, focused on the changing urban conditions for business and citizens, presenting the opportunities for sustainable and purpose-driven growth towards societal prosperity in an inclusive collaboration among state, city authorities, business, and civil society. 

Dr. Pelonis engaged the panelists in topics ranging from the effects of the Pandemic in Education,  the actions that were implemented and those that could have been taken; the opportunities that became evident from the crisis; and whether we have a clearer picture of the Education of the Future.

The panelists expressed some interesting, evident, and not-so-apparent facts and opinions. One of the biggest dangers from the response to the pandemic, as expressed mainly by Deputy Minister Syrigos, was that it could endanger the participation of a large number of the student population in the learning process. Digital means were not available to everyone, revealing social inequities, while deficiencies in Digital Literacy were revealed, especially those of the parents who had to play the role of technical support and of teachers at home for their kids. However, he noted the belief that distance learning opens new horizons especially on the post-graduate level of education.

Professors Filos and Mylonadis highlighted some of the opportunities of the digital realm like the increase of connection and collaborations with other universities, as they also pondered over the question of how the universities assisted students in experiencing university life and learning when physical presence in the campus and physical contact with their student peers were not possible. 

Professor Mylonadis noted that adapting to the needs of learning is possible, since classes continued despite the lockdowns, bringing the example of some UK institutions that raised tuition and increased their enrollment after the first lockdown. The importance of parallel or extracurricular activities in the learning experience was also highlighted.

At Dr. Pelonis’ question of whether we can foresee or envision the future of education, the panelists responded that face-to-face learning cannot be substituted, as the experience of person-to-person exchange of ideas and opinions is the true gain of the students. More emphasis will be given to new study subjects, such as sustainability and the new technologies as institutional competitiveness will leverage those skills especially in the Technology sector.

Watch the panel discussion (in Greek):