Looking back on the study tour experience, I have gained a sense for the importance of improving education systems in the immediate term. In Argentina, there seem to be many hurdles lying ahead. In Chile, it was clear that great progress has been made, but there is still plenty of room for continued improvement. One thing that was particularly inspiring throughout the course and travels, was seeing the genuine enthusiasm and drive of the people leading change in education today. When we visited the schools and the education nonprofits, the people driving the initiatives were extremely dedicated to the cause. At the schools we visited, it was clear that the students were equally driven to improve their own experience. This surprised me, but was excellent to see.
One individual who was particularly inspiring was the Minister of Education in Buenos Aires. Despite the uphill battle lying ahead for him, he carried an inspiring optimism. He was eager to hear the feedback from the group and learn about what options might be available to him that he hadn’t yet considered. His openness to new ideas and excitement about the possibilities for the Argentinian education system were great to see.
It was exciting to see different approaches to education in practice. We can gain significant value from learning from the experiments with education abroad and applying the best practices to our education system in the US. Although not all of the approaches are successful, it was great to see the willingness to experiment and innovate in education in Chile and Argentina. It will be exciting to see how these innovations gain traction in the coming years.
As I sit here on Stanford’s campus to write this conclusion of the study tour, it reminds me of the importance of considering our peer schools at home as well. I am sitting at the wormhole – the live portal that connects the engineering student center at Stanford to the Stata center at MIT. Although this is just one small application of the potential to share ideas, it is inspiring to see the enthusiasm for learning from one another.