In 1996, the International Commission on Education for the Twenty-first Century, led by Jacques Delors, presented UNESCO with its report: "Learning: The Treasure Within". It envisioned 'learning to know', 'learning to do', 'learning to be' and ‘learning to live together’ as the four pillars of learning, and as the foundation of education. ‘Learning to know’ entails instruments of understanding and building bridges. ‘Learning to do’ entails acting creatively, building our competencies and unleashing our potential. ‘Learning to be’ entails being a better being and more responsible, and testing our convictions. ‘Learning to live together’ revolves around participation, cooperation and plurality.
The report remarked that vital reforms are needed both, in content and method of learning. The Commission posed a critical question: Is it possible to devise a form of education which might make it possible to avoid conflicts or resolve them peacefully by developing respect for other people, their cultures and their spiritual values? Delors’ Commission report is a seminal work that recognized the role of education in designing and building a common future, and proposed an integrated vision of education based on the core concepts of lifelong learning and the four pillars of learning it envisioned.
This is potentially a defining moment for the educational landscape. The 5th Online Educational Leadership Forum Panel Discussion entitled "Education in the times of Corona: Can we bring the 'four pillars of learning' online?" attempted to further explore this very question by examining the ways in which the concept is reflected in the current remote learning situation, in addition to, delving deeper into understanding how we can practically ensure the 'four pillars of learning' in online teaching and learning.
Educators and school leaders have a germane role in shaping a more inclusive, sustainable, secure, peaceful and just society. It is in this context that the panel discussion explored the question of bringing the four pillars of education online.