As part of its wider charitable remit, the Society is excited to announce the launch of the Global Education Policy Network (GEPN). The initiative is sponsored by Prince Sultan University in Saudi Arabia (PSU) and The State University of New York at Buffalo in the US (SUNY Buffalo).

The network already has over 70 member institutions -with the Society being one of seven UK members- and nearly 100 Global Distinguished Experts. Frank Peters, the Society’s Chief Executive, who has driven the collaboration, is the first UK Ambassador for GEPN.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating effect on young people’s education, wherever they live. At the end of 2020, 1.64 billion of the world’s learners across 173 countries had their schools closed or partially closed. One year on, 1.1 billion learners are still facing severe disruption – nearly half of the world’s total – and schools in 33 countries remain fully closed. On average, children and young people have lost two-thirds of a year’s learning.

The effects are wide-ranging – not only on academic outcomes but also on young people’s mental health and socio-psychological wellbeing. We urgently need to capture and understand these effects now to mitigate their impact in the long term. And, because the pandemic, educational institutions, and student bodies are globally interconnected, our analysis and recommendations must be global too.

Commenting, Frank Peters said, “The strategic aims of GEPN align perfectly with the Society’s educational initiatives in ensuring through its Course Endorsement Programme support for learners. The pandemic has greatly affected the learning experience of those in the design sector but we must be aware that the negative effects of the pandemic will have disadvantaged those in other sectors with whom designers will collaborate during their careers”. He added, “This educational initiative comes just one year after the Society achieved funding to set up YES2020, the online Year End Show platform for students to support them in showcasing their final year projects following the restrictions on physical shows as a result of the pandemic and which will this year expand its remit to include international design students”.

GEPN brings together a wealth of global expertise to meet the exceptional challenges faced by students in the pandemic and its aftermath. The network will create and promote collaborative research programs and provide policy guidance across primary, secondary, and tertiary educational institutions, governments and international organizations.

The first GEPN initiative is the launch of the ‘The Annual Global Index for Health and Wellbeing of Students in Higher Education’ which will monitor cohorts and mine data to inform thinking and policy in education. It forms part of GEPN’s vital work understanding how socio-psychological and wellbeing issues relating to the pandemic affect students’ personal and learning outcomes. Students are invited to Take the Survey using this link.

You can read  all about GEPN  here or by downloading the GEPN Publication copywritten and designed by Narrative.