KIX EAP Team Retreat in the Maldives: Planning for KIX 2.0

Posted: 17 March 2023
Blog image

The first KIX Europe, Asia, Pacific Hub (KIX EAP) team retreat successfully took place on 17-19 January 2023 in-person in the Maldives. The KIX EAP Hub team met together with 23 country representatives to reflect on the first years of KIX work, brainstorm new goals and visions for the KIX extension, and collaboratively develop the foundation of the proposal for the second phase of KIX. The participants represented 18 out of 21 KIX EAP countries: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, Georgia, Kyrgyz Republic, Lao PDR, Maldives, Moldova, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Sudan, Tajikistan, Timor-Leste, Uzbekistan, Viet Nam, and Yemen.

The retreat was graciously coordinated by the Maldives National KIX Team with two days of meetings on the local island Ukulhas and a third day hosted in Male. During the retreat, the Maldives National KIX Team was represented by the National KIX Coordinator Visal Moosa, the GPE Focal Point Aishath Hassan, and four members of the National KIX Steering Committee: Aminath Shafiya Adam (Maldives National University), Ahmed Shakeeb (National Institute of Education), Moosa Adam (Ministry of Education), and Mazeena Jameel (UNICEF, Maldives).

The first day was spent on reflection, looking back over the successes and challenges faced by KIX EAP since its inception in 2020. Most country representatives agreed that operations have grown easier with time, especially now that 13 of the represented countries have a National KIX Coordinator and a National KIX Steering Committee in place. As activities are developed, visibility and recognition of KIX EAP’s work expands almost exponentially, making it easier to increase participation.

Day 1 - Participants share reflections on KIX EAP’s work thus far.Day 1 - Participants share reflections on KIX EAP’s work thus far.

The Hub’s approach to recruiting and targeting national policy experts and policy advisors as participants in Learning Cycles was complimented. Their participation led to useful scoping studies and a fruitful peer-exchange among experts that work on similar policy challenges in their own countries, as outlined in this blog. As an example, last year, two groups of policy experts benefited from two Learning Cycles on diagnostic tools for improving education policy planning (offered in collaboration with UNESCO-IIEP) and on teacher professional development at scale (offered in collaboration with FIT-ED). Country representatives indicated that close collaboration with Ministries of Education, where possible, helped to further grow engagement in KIX EAP activities. Recognizing that country context matters, in countries that are still striving to formalize their KIX Steering Committee, a temporary KIX National Coordinator is helping to advance on that process and to ensure that the Hub meets individual country needs. Some countries modified the KIX Steering Committee structure to better ensure the Hub reflects the local education actors. This flexibility has been an effective way to engage key education stakeholders and drive success.  Ultimately, country representatives felt strongly that KIX EAP has already created a meaningful impact in the region, and yet there are plenty of areas for growth and new areas of need in the next phase of KIX.

Day 2 - Participants work in sub-region groups to discuss the future of KIX.Day 2 - Participants work in sub-region groups to discuss the future of KIX.

The work of the second day pivoted to look ahead to the next phase of KIX, and what that means for KIX EAP. The brainstorming that took place could have continued over several days, with country representatives sharing what they envision success to look like for the Hub in 2027, ways it can contribute to systemic reform, and new and innovative ideas for the Hub to execute its future work. There was widespread desire for KIX EAP to strengthen country support, especially strengthening countries’ capacities for evidence-based policy-making and research. Country representatives hoped that different levels of commitment to the Hub would be recognized in the new phase. To achieve that, they expressed that it would be useful to be able to access different network resources organized by the HubCountry representatives also requested that the KIX extension bring about both individual and institutional capacity strengthening, with a number of suggestions as to how. Participants further discussed how the KIX extension could be in sync with and support the Partnership Compacts being developed with GPE and what a systems transformation approach means at the country level. It was particularly helpful to hear from the experience of countries that are already working on the Partnership Compact with GPE. KIX is ideally suited to strengthen national experts’ analyses and assessments of what is really needed to carry out systemic reform so the different components and levels of a system are in sync with each other.


Day 3 - Members of the KIX EAP Hub Team and the Maldives National Team visit the Maldives’ Ministry of Education.Day 3 - Members of the KIX EAP Hub Team and the Maldives National Team visit the Maldives’ Ministry of Education.

On the final day, key members from the KIX EAP team and the Maldives National Team met the Minister of Education and the Minister of Higher Education for the Maldives. In both meetings there were discussions on how KIX can support both Ministries in their efforts to improve the national education system. To conclude, a visit to the Maldives National University and the Immaddin School gave participants a better understanding of the structures and work of the Maldivian education system. They also learned more about Maldivian culture and history. 

Overall, the country representatives brought great enthusiasm for the work of the KIX EAP Hub thus far and high hopes for the future of KIX. They stressed the importance and uniqueness of KIX EAP’s role as knowledge brokers in the region and the crucial work it does as a bridge between policy analysis and educational planning. The success and value of its work to create opportunities for learning exchange between countries was also emphasized. After three days of listening to invaluable insights, feedback, and requests from all the country representatives, the KIX EAP Hub team will now draw on this to collaboratively develop the next phase of its work to start in April 2023.

Participant reflections:

“This first retreat was a much-awaited and very well-executed event, which also raised the morale of participants and motivated them for further work in the KIX extension framework. Team-building was great, personal effort and collegial approach on the part of organizers were remarkable and discussions were highly interesting. Many thanks for organizing the retreat, especially in such an amazing place! For future retreats, an extension to a 4-day format might be useful, as there are so many participants and so much information to share.” - Zhanyl (Janyl) Bokonbaeva, National KIX Coordinator, Kyrgyz Republic

“It was really a fantastic strategy meeting. The meeting sessions were designed very well with informative presentations and abundant opportunities for group discussion, participation and contribution from all the participants. It's an immense learning experience and planning exercises. I've gained a lot of useful insights in order to be able to support the national KIX structure and KIX activities in Viet Nam better in the time to come.” - Nuong Dieu Nguyen, Interim National KIX Coordinator, Viet Nam