Education transformation needed for ‘inclusive, just and peaceful world’ – UN chief
It’s simple: Education systems today simply don’t make the grade.
— António Guterres (@antonioguterres) September 19, 2022
Because education transforms lives, economies and societies, “we must transform education”.
Instead of being the great enabler, the UN chief pointed out that education is fast becoming “a great divider”, noting that some 70 per cent of 10-year-olds in poor countries are unable to read and are “barely learning”.
With access to the best resources, schools and universities, the rich get the best jobs, while the poor – especially girls – displaced people, and students with disabilities, face huge obstacles to getting the qualifications that could change their lives, he continued.
Meanwhile, COVID-19 has “dealt a hammer blow to progress on SDG4”, the Sustainable Development Goal targeting equitable quality education.
“But the education crisis began long before – and runs much deeper”, Mr Guterres added, citing the International Commission on the Future of Education report card, which clearly stated: “Education systems don’t make the grade”.
Dependent upon outdated and narrow curricula, under-trained and underpaid teachers, and rote learning, he maintained that “education is failing students and societies”.
At the same time, the digital divide penalizes poor students as the education financing gap “yawns wider than ever”.
“Now is the time to transform education systems”, underscored the UN chief.
21st century vision
With a new 21st century education vision taking shape, he flagged that quality learning must support the development of the individual learner throughout their life.
“It must help people learn how to learn, with a focus on problem-solving and collaboration…provide the foundations for learning, from reading, writing and mathematics to scientific, digital, social and emotional skills…develop students’ capacity to adapt to the rapidly changing world of work…[and] be accessible to all from the earliest stages and throughout their lives”.
At a time of rampant misinformation, climate denial and attacks on human rights, Mr. Guterres stressed the need for education systems that “distinguish fact from conspiracy, instill respect for science, and celebrate humanity in all its diversity”.