More than 70 heads of state, government and ministers, as well as international partners joined together online on October 22 at an extraordinary meeting on global education convened by UNESCO, the governments of Ghana, Norway and the United Kingdom; They adopted a Declaration expressing a firm commitment to protect education funding which details the measures to be adopted starting next year in order to save education from the devastating impact of disruption caused by COVID-19.
More than 65 education ministers from five continents took the floor to share measures to counter the impact of the pandemic on education, alongside multilateral and regional organizations including the Global Partnership for Education. Education and the Education Above All Foundation.
The Declaration endorsed by the participants condemns recent attacks on teachers, students and schools reaffirming the role of education and teachers.
The document also defines the priority actions for a good resumption of education in the next 15 months:
- Take all necessary measures to reopen schools in a safe and inclusive manner;
- Support all teachers as frontline workers and pay particular attention to their training and professional development;
- Invest in skills development, from the socio-emotional dimension to the acquisition of know-how for new jobs
- Reduce the digital divide that has put an end to the education of a third of the world’s students.
In the Declaration, governments and partners declare their commitment to:
- Maintain or increase the share of public expenditure devoted to education in a range between 4 and 6% of gross domestic product and / or in the proportion of 15 to 20% of public expenditure;
- Ensure that stimulus packages support measures that will mitigate learning losses and enable the most vulnerable to return to school;
- Increase the volume, predictability and effectiveness of international aid
- Target aid to countries and populations that need it most, including those without government programs.
Statement: Director-General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay
“At a time when countries are making difficult choices and compromises to turn their societies around, education must be our top priority, our pillar for recovery. And yet, only a tiny fraction – less than 1% on average – has been set aside for education and training in national stimulus plans. Funding education is not a cost: it is our most essential long-term investment. If we don’t allocate this funding now, we will face a darker future ”,
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