The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has announced he will convene a summit on Transforming Education in September 2022. The summit is proposed in ‘Our Common Agenda,’ as part of the focus on better representing young people and future generations.
Earlier, briefing UN delegates in Geneva, Switzerland, UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed said the Summit will have the aims of “averting a generational catastrophe and rethinking education systems.” She said learners must be equipped with skills and knowledge to excel in a rapidly changing world.
Also, at the launch event for a report by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Guterres said education is “key to resolving many of the global and local challenges we face.” Noting that the 2030 Agenda calls for all people to have “access to life-long learning opportunities that help them acquire the knowledge and skills needed to exploit opportunities and to participate fully in society,” Guterres said today’s education systems are no longer fit for purpose.
The UNESCO report, titled ‘Reimagining our Futures Together: A New Social Contract for Education,’ was developed over two years by the International Commission on the Futures of Education and is based on wide global consultations. It calls for transformation to both “repair past injustices” and build capacity to improve. The report aims to foster a “contract” between parents, children, and educators.
The report also recalls that public education was created to support specific objectives: citizenship and development. Today’s challenges and risks mean that education must be “reinvented” and the knowledge it provides must be “anchored in social, economic, and environmental justice.”
Among its recommendations, the authors suggest that teaching focus less on individual accomplishment and more on cooperation, collaboration, and solidarity. Meanwhile, curricula should be more interdisciplinary rather than organized by different subjects. It should also emphasize intercultural and ecological learning, the report says.
Guterres said the UNESCO report is a launching pad, and its findings will be built on the lead up to the Summit. The UN chief will appoint a Special Coordinator to lead preparations for the event.