Over 60 Grade 12 students from both the Ottawa Catholic School Board and Ottawa Carleton District School Board participated in The Learning Partnership’s first Annual Global Solutions Student Symposium last month. Global Solutions introduced students to a current global problem and provides them the background, tools, and guidance to propose innovative solutions, which they presented to a panel of experts at the Student Symposium.
St. Patrick’s and Immaculata High Schools participated in the inaugural symposium. During their World Issues and Economics classes, students explored problems about birth registration, sanitation, nutrient deficiencies, and banking access around the world. “It gave us a lot of insight into what’s going on around the world and not only focusing on ourselves,” said one student. Tasked with creating solutions to these global problems, they worked collaboratively and developed their critical thinking and researching skills. Students also prepared and practiced their seven-minute pitch to explain their solution, detailing cultural considerations, challenges, and how it would be financed.
One student looked at micronutrient deficiencies in Guatemala, which have been leading to babies being born with major developmental defects and have been impacting the brain development of young children. She proposed reinventing the look of micronutrient packages called “sprinkles” in order to make the packaging culture-friendly, with clear labelling and instructions. She also looked into teaming up with church leaders to set up booths at local churches, to help educate the people on the importance of sprinkles. Through funding from a local NGO and partnership with the church, people would be able to pay very little for these micronutrient packages.
Teachers Julie Slinger, Michelle Howe, and Stephanie Pearson noticed that students learned a variety of skills throughout the process. “I think the biggest impact that I saw was in their ability to be critical thinkers. Throughout the project they had to use their critical thinking skills along with problem solving. To make their solutions sustainable I found the students really had to empathize and understand the culture and the people they were going to help,” Michelle Howe explained.
“Students worked collaboratively and made connections with the research they’d done and the course itself.”Julie Slinger
Kelly McKibbin is the Board Website Coordinator with the Ottawa Catholic School Board’s Communications Department, and manages all aspects of the Board’s district website. Kelly holds a Bachelor of Arts, Major in Communications, from the University of Ottawa, and is the recipient of a United Way Ottawa Community Builder Award.