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Education: UNESCO calls for "global mobilization”
Thursday, 30 June 2022 16:18

In 2019, UNESCO had already warned that it would be difficult to achieve the goal of "quality education for all by 2030". Now, the COVID-19 pandemic has made the forecast even worse, prompting the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization to mobilize the world's education communities and governments at a meeting it is hosting this week in Paris.

Some 2,000 participants from around the world gathered at UNESCO headquarters from 28 to 30 June 2022 to prepare for the Education Transformation Summit convened by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in September. According to a report by UNESCO, the World Bank and UNICEF released on 24 June, these learning delays will also have a strong impact on the economy. On a global scale, they will represent a cumulative loss of wealth for the current generation of schoolchildren of around $21 trillion. The previous estimate in 2021 was $17 trillion, showing that the situation has declined over the past year.

Concerns about funding

In addition to this learning crisis, there is a funding crisis. According to another study by UNESCO and the World Bank, 40% of low- and middle-income countries reduced their education spending during the pandemic. The average reduction was 13.5%. However, in the summer of 2022, budgets have still not returned to their 2019 levels.The question of resources is all the more important as education must also be transformed to meet the new challenges of the 21st century. As the recent UNESCO report on the Future of Education has shown, curricula and teaching must be adapted to issues such as the climate crisis and the digital revolution.

UN Summit in September

While there are many reasons for concern, the large-scale mobilization of governments this week at UNESCO gives cause for hope. More than 150 ministers and deputy ministers personally accepted the invitation and took part in the debates - the largest number ever to attend the Organization's headquarters. In their speeches, all of them underlined their determination to act, and to collaborate on new initiatives.
These two days of collective work have thus allowed us to sketch out many possible measures. The discussions will continue on 19 September in New York, during the Summit for the Transformation of Education, which will bring together heads of state and government: a major event convened by the United Nations Secretary-General aimed at putting education at the top of the international agenda.

Source: UNESCO

 

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