The Inaugural Wellington College China Festival of Education

Wellington College International Hangzhou successfully held their inaugural Festival of Education event in Hangzhou during 14th – 15th April, providing an English language forum for the expat community in Hangzhou to discussion and debate topics on education. The event brought together 13 speakers to deliver 29 presentations, talks, and workshops across the two days, inspiring over 500 participants from Hangzhou and the surrounding regions (who are involved in or passionate about education) to explore, celebrate, learn, debate and connect.

Coinciding with the 10th anniversary of the Wellington College Festival of Education globally and the 4th anniversary of the Festival of Education in China, the 2019 Festival of Education came to Hangzhou for the very first time in its full format, bringing new insights in education to this fast-growing city in the Yangtze River Delta Economic Zone. The region is witnessing increasing demand for international education due to government talent attraction initiatives such as the 521 Program for Global Talents Introduction and the Hangzhou “115” Overseas Talent Introduction Plan, which are helping to boost the expat community in Hangzhou and make Hangzhou increasingly international. The Festival of Education fulfills the need for higher level debate and discussion on education as the region grows and develops.

Group photo of the key speakers 

Over the two-day event in Hangzhou, experts from the United Kingdom, China and all over the world gathered together, bringing their views and expertise on forward-looking educational issues and stimulating thinking and discussion about education. The Festival provided an opportunity for those passionate about education to debate current and emerging themes in education, and to hear from a range of speakers who challenged norms and raised new ideas about how the educational landscape will evolve to adapt in a rapidly changing world. This year’s festival provided additional opportunities for in-depth discussion on the five key strands of; Early Years, Wellbeing, a Developing Romance between Chinese and British education, Exploring Education and Multilingualism.

Key speakers at the event included Ruby Wax, renowned writer, comedian, performer and mental health campaigner; Professor Sir Jonathan Bate, eminent intellectual, Shakespeare scholar, writer, and broadcaster, and the inventor of the Leuven Scales for emotional wellbeing, Professor Ferre Laevers. The broad range of speakers from diverse backgrounds provided opportunities for festival participants to explore the festival strands from a range of perspectives.

The Festival Director, said, “ Education is a way we react with the rapidly changing-world. To better address education-related issues, the Festival of Education brings experts from around the world together to Hangzhou, gathering different opinions and views for in-depth debate. It does not only discuss today’s challenges, but also aims to predict future needs in international education. ”

Mr. Paul Rogers, Executive Master of Wellington College Hangzhou, said, “ Wellington College has a long history of providing a world-class progressive education, and as part of the Wellington College family of schools, Wellington College International Hangzhou follows this tradition, providing a world-class international education to children in Hangzhou. Although this is the very first full-scale Festival of Education in Hangzhou, the fact that this is the first time we’ve done this does not mean that we are prepared to settle for second best. We hope that participating educators in Hangzhou, whether they be teachers or parents, learnt something new or affirmed something they already thought they needed to know during the two-day event. ”