Meghívott előadók


Setting, Monitoring and Achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals:
Contributions from the Global Community of Education Researchers


This presentation will take a global perspective linked to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which were set in 2015 with a target date of 2030. Among the 17 goals, the presentation will especially focus on the fourth (SDG4) which is explicitly about education. Within the United Nations system, the principal body responsible for education is UNESCO.

Linking to the conference theme, progress towards SDG4 has certainly required commitment – not only from UNESCO and other United Nations bodies but also from governments and other stakeholders. It has also required flexibility, most obviously because of the impact of Covid-19 but also because of political, economic and other factors. Among questions are the extent to which the flexibility permits deviation from SDG4 and dilution of the overall commitment. The world is currently moving behind schedule for meeting the targets; but some dimensions were in any case vague, and others were over-ambitious. Questions then arise about the nature of SDG4 and its sub-goals, and about the extent to which all parties should consider themselves committed in changing political and social circumstances.

Within this picture, further questions relate to the roles and contributions of education researchers. Considerations include both the foci of their research and the methodological lenses that they employ, which also need both commitment and flexibility. Assertions that the objectives are or are not being achieved seem to imply measurement; but arguably some components are not amenable to quantification, thus highlighting needs for qualitative assessments. The presentation will note contributions from education researchers first to the setting of SDG4 and its sub-goals and then to monitoring and progress towards the objectives. These matters include consideration of ways in which research findings are or are not used in the wider environment, and steps that researchers can take to promote the usefulness of their work.

Research Profile

Mark Bray is UNESCO Chair Professor in Comparative Education at the University of Hong Kong. He commenced his career as a secondary school teacher in Kenya and Nigeria before moving to the Universities of Edinburgh, Papua New Guinea and London. He has been based at the University of Hong Kong since 1986, but with periods of leave to work at the World Bank and then, from 2006 to 2010, as Director in Paris of UNESCO’s International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP). He has also undertaken much consultancy work for the Asian Development Bank, the Commonwealth Secretariat, UNDP, and UNICEF. Professor Bray is a Past-President of the World Council of Comparative Education Societies (WCCES), and of the US-based Comparative & International Education Society (CIES). His academic work has included focus on methodology in the field of comparative education and on aspects of financing and administration of education.


The past, present and future of artificial intelligence in education


AI was first applied in education in the 1970s in a system named Scholar that taught geography through posing and answering students’ questions via a text-based interface. It represented what it knew about geography symbolically, using a semantic network, and kept track of the educational interaction with the student by annotating that network. Since those days there have been developments in learner modelling, domain modelling, pedagogic strategies and interactive modalities (among other aspects), and increased concern for ethical, social and cultural contexts and human rights. In addition, AI itself has changed, now being dominated by machine learning and big data that have enabled the creation of dashboards for learners, teachers and educational institutions. This talk will explore these issues and speculate about future directions.

Research Profile

Benedict du Boulay is an Emeritus Professor of Artificial Intelligence at the University of Sussex and Visiting Professor at University College London. He gained a BSc in Physics from Imperial College London (1966), a PGCE from University of Zambia (1968) and a Ph.D. from the University of Edinburgh (1978). He worked in industry and as a school-teacher prior and to his PhD and after it at the University of Aberdeen and the University of Sussex.

His primary research area is the application of Artificial Intelligence in Education. Here he is particularly interested in issues around modelling and developing students’ metacognition and motivation. He was President (2015-2017) of the International Society for Artificial Intelligence in Education and is an Associate Editor of its International Journal of Artificial Intelligence in Education. He has edited/written 12 books and written some 190 papers. This includes editing a Handbook of AI in Education due out in April 2023.