IDEC – The alternative of the alternatives

What happens when people who think differently meet other people who think differently? When the leading minds in the world of alternative education get together? The upcoming IDEC Conference is a huge celebration of educational innovation for anyone involved in education, but that’s not all. This is an international festival of creative education where the public is also invited to present their theories, and in which even families and children can participate.

What is IDEC?

It all began in 1993 when Yaacov Hecht, then the founder and principal of the Democratic School in Hadera, invited about 20 leading educators from around the world to think together about how to change education in the world, or maybe how to change the world . . .

Ever since that conference, and for the past 24 years, IDEC has been traveling around the world. Representatives from 50 countries and hundreds of educators and people who are ‘addicted’ to the subject from around the world participate. They come to meet like-minded people, get inspired, share, learn and be part of the magical experience of IDEC. Because, of course, the conference is conducted somewhat differently.

What happens at IDEC? It’s hard to say!

Not surprisingly, a large part of the program is not pre-determined, but emerges during the event itself, in accordance with requests made by the participants. This year three central issues will be raised:

A meeting between policymakers in the public education systems in Israel and other countries, with people involved in democratic education, so that they may learn together from the experience that has accumulated in Israel and elsewhere.
Democratic education as a springboard for a democratic society – how to create a multicultural and inclusive community that promotes human rights.
Democratic Education 2.0 – the fascinating encounter between education systems and technological innovation.
The conference is a platform for regular periodic discourse between all those involved in progressive education around the world; an opportunity to clarify issues and broach problems in a supportive environment; a convenient platform on which to create collaboration and connections between individuals, schools and communities from all over the world.

Have you heard about Sugata Mitra?

Professor Sugata Mitra, winner of the TED Prize – who developed an innovative approach to self-learning without teachers in a computerized environment – will be at the next conference. His method was implemented in a special project that ran in India and England at the same time, in which the relevance of democratic education for developing countries was demonstrated.

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From right to left: Prof. Sugta Mitra, Yaacov Hecht, Eyal Ram, Michal Gilboa-Atar and Yotam Tron

Other participants in the Conference will be: Eyal Ram –  VP of teaching staff in the Ministry of Education, who was previously CEO of the Institute for Democratic Education; Yaacov Hecht – founder of the Democratic School in Hadera and the IDE; and Michal Gilboa-Atar and Yotam Tron –  the present CEOs of the IDE .

Today of all days, in Israel of all places

The conference, which originated in Israel, now returns to Israel – to a new and more-relevant-than-ever reality dealing with existential questions for Israeli society. The reality of a society of “four tribes” – religious, secular, ultra-Orthodox and Arabs – each with a complex identity, invites a profound dialog about how it is possible to establish a democratic culture.

The implementation and cultivation of a democratic culture based on dialog, participation, mutual responsibility between the individual and the community, and social activism – is an issue we focus on at the Institute. Around this issue we will create a special meeting open to the public on Sunday April 2, to which we will invite multicultural public discourse around social democracy (as opposed to democracy as a regime).

We invite the general public to take part in this dialogic exploration.

the small print . .

The next conference will be held in Hadera between March 30 and  April 4, 2017. The Conference is a joint collaboration between the IDE, “Education Cities”, the community of democratic schools and the Municipality of Hadera.