While the long-term impact of COVID-19 on education will be dramatic, the future will be much more precarious if we do not focus on building systems for lifelong learning that safeguard quality and inclusiveness, writes Per Magnusson
The COVID-19 pandemic
has unleashed an unprecedented global crisis affecting societies and
communities in a multitude of ways for which few of us were prepared.
schools has been part of the strategy to mitigate the spread of the novel
coronavirus in almost all countries around the world. With a peak of 1.5
billion children out of school in April, the number is still estimated to be
around 1.2 billion, or 70 per cent of total enrolled learners (13
May). Even if many countries have simultaneously introduced
programmes to allow for continuity of learning and distance learning, in varying
levels of digitalisation, we can be certain this will not compensate for the
learning lost when schools and education institutions are up and running in
closures will undoubtedly have long-term effects for both individuals and
societies. We also know that school closures will have an even more intense
impact for girls, especially from the poorest and most vulnerable groups
because they are the ones most exposed to domestic violence and sexual
harassment, including pregnancies and early marriages. Continue reading →
As preparations begin for the seventh International Conference on Adult Education (CONFINTEA VII) in 2022, Daniel Baril, Chair of UIL’s Governing Board, argues that we need a new generation of adult learning and education policies
of adult learning and education, we live in paradoxical times. On the one hand,
learning needs are diversifying and adult education resources cover a wide
spectrum of learning possibilities, formal, non-formal or informal. On the
other, adult education policies strive to mobilize all available educational resources
to answer different learning needs. That is why I think that a new generation
of adult learning and education policies is needed, policies that would aim to draw
on all educational resources to answer a wide array of learning needs.
Global citizenship education should be central to efforts to encourage people to take ownership of the Sustainable Development Goals and make the next 10 years a true ‘Decade of Action’, writes Christiana Nikolitsa-Winter
The start of the last decade of the 2030 Agenda
for Sustainable Development provides an important moment for reflection on what
we have achieved to date and how far we have still to go in achieving the 17
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Secretary-General of the United
Nations, António Guterres, took the opportunity to call for a ‘Decade of
Action’ to accelerate sustainable solutions to ‘the world’s biggest challenges,
ranging from poverty and gender to climate change, inequality and closing the
finance gap’. He emphasized action on three levels: global, securing
greater leadership and resources for the SDGs; local, embedding
solutions in policies, budgets and regulatory frameworks; and people, in
order to generate an ‘unstoppable movement’ for transformation.
Progress has been made on many fronts since the
SDGs were launched in 2015, with governments integrating them into national
strategies, and civil society and young people, in particular, increasingly
involved in lobbying for change. The opportunities are enormous, but there remain
some substantial challenges. Among these are social and economic exclusion, poverty,
violence, radical extremism, cybercrime and fake news, pollution and climate
change. Responding to these challenges demands individuals who are tolerant and
able to live cooperatively with others, who judge critically, who are ethical
users and producers of digital information, and who are actively involved in
finding solutions to these problems, both locally and globally. This is why the
importance of global citizenship education (GCED) is increasingly recognized.
It represents a means for individuals to learn to be active in a culture of
human rights, justice, democratic values and sustainability. Continue reading →
As he begins his first term as Chair of the UIL Governing Board, Daniel Baril reflects on the implications of technological transformation for adult learning and education
In my first
contribution to the UIL blog, and as I reflect on global issues for adult learning
and education as new Chair of the UIL Governing Board, I would like to share a
high-level analysis of what I consider a major and new educational challenge.
In my view, we are entering a new learning frontier, principally characterized
by the fact that human and machine are learning side by side and together. This
‘human-machine learning interface’, as it was described in a recent UNEVOC document, is characteristic of the so-called
fourth industrial revolution that is dawning upon us.
context, the education landscape is being rapidly and deeply transformed before
our eyes by technological forces, and especially by the computational and
digital dimensions of those forces. Among other things, new technological means
are widely distributed within the population and social arrangements are being transformed
by them. In our world now, any two learners are just a click of the mouse away.
The questions of the place and pace of artificial intelligence (AI) in
education are symptomatic of those changes pressuring our educational world. In
a recent forum on this topic, organized by UNESCO in June 2019, parameters for
the policy debate were proposed. They are testimonies to the nature and the magnitude
of the changes taking place. In particular, AI has the potential for ‘reshaping the core foundations of
education, teaching and learning’. Unlocking that potential will move the
frontier of our learning world. Continue reading →
Konstantinos Pagratis reflects on how education can support the global struggle to end poverty
Last week, the world marked the International
Day for the Eradication of Poverty, an opportunity to reaffirm its commitment
to Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 1 – to end poverty in all its forms
everywhere – and to highlight the complex, multidimensional nature of the
challenges we face in achieving it.
Education is not a silver bullet when it comes
to ending poverty, but it has a crucial role to play, both in securing SDG 1
and in fulfilling the commitment made by Member States in signing up to the
2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: to leave no one behind.
UNESCO believes that the fight against poverty
demands the strengthening of individuals’ capacities through education, which
represents a source not only of employment but also of pride, dignity and
agency. As Audrey Azoulay, the Director General of UNESCO, observes, ‘for each
year a girl spends in the classroom, her future income will increase by 10 to
20 per cent’. Continue reading →
As we mark World Environment Day 2019, Jennifer Kearns-Willerich argues that lifelong learning must be at the heart of our efforts to live sustainably
The significant gap between where we are today and where we want to be by 2030 is nowhere more evident that on the issue of climate change.
As the 2016 Global Education Monitoring Report, Education for people and planet: Creating sustainable futures for all, observed, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’s call for ‘urgent action on climate change’ to ‘support the needs of the present and future generations’, is some way from being heeded, with environmental sustainability a still-distant prospect and the gears of policy still seemingly stuck in neutral when it comes to the climate crisis.
Education and lifelong learning, the report contended, have a central role to play ‘in the creation of a green and inclusive economy with sustainable models of production and consumption, and new and retooled sectors, industries and jobs’. They also have an important part to play in changing hearts and minds and galvanizing political will. Continue reading →
The SDG Global Festival of Action shows exactly why lifelong learning matters to the SDG agenda, argues Paul Stanistreet
As young people around the world raise their voices to call for action on
climate change, the Sustainable
Development Goal (SDG) Global Festival of Action seems especially timely.
This important annual event, which is taking
place in Bonn, Germany, is intended to bring together and galvanize campaigners
on the SDGs to redouble their efforts, forge new partnerships and, above all,
take action to support the global movement for sustainability. The festival
encourages leaders from governments, local authorities, international
organizations and civil society to work closely with activists, youth
advocates, the creative industry and the private sector in scaling up their
efforts to make a difference to this critical agenda.
The event sends an important message: unless
people are prepared to take action themselves – to campaign, lobby, make changes
in their own lives and in their communities, and hold their governments to
account for the promises they have made, and do so in a coordinated, coherent
way – we will not achieve the SDGs. Continue reading →
Lifelong learning has a key role to play not only in achieving SDG 4 on education but also in creating a climate in which progressive change is possible, writes Paul Stanistreet
Last week, the Comparative International
Education Society (CIES) convened in San Francisco for its annual conference,
which this year focused on ‘Education for Sustainability’.
Jeffrey Sachs, the economist, UN adviser and
sustainability advocate, gave the keynote lecture. He demanded urgent action to
address the challenges of sustainability and specifically to deliver on the 2030
Agenda for Sustainable Development targets for education. Without a major
change of pace or direction, he warned, the targets for Sustainable Development
Goal (SDG) 4 would not be met.
Sachs is right to urge educators to ‘raise
their voices’ and’ fight harder for resources’. However, the contribution of
education to the sustainable development agenda will not be realized simply by raising
more taxes from the very wealthy or by demanding or securing more funding for
schools, important though this is. We need to think too about the role of
education in shifting the cultural and intellectual climate to a place where political
will can be moved and meaningful change in the face of powerful, entrenched
interests is possible. Continue reading →
Lifelong learning has a major contribution to make to helping countries such as Greece rise to the development challenges they face. But, far too often, it is overlooked, writes Christiana Nikolitsa-Winter
In Greece, my native country, high unemployment and the ongoing financial crisis are combining with mass population movements of migrants and refugees to create huge development challenges for the country. Greece is also undergoing major demographic changes, with its ageing population reducing the number of young people entering the labour market and obliging those already in the workforce to work for longer and move between jobs more often.
These facts point to an urgent need for a much stronger investment in lifelong learning, and particularly in adult education. By supporting adult education and adopting lifelong learning as the key educational paradigm for inclusive and sustainable learning societies, nation states can build populations that are resilient, adaptable, creative and highly skilled. Yet, in far too many cases, lifelong learning and adult education continue to be neglected.
A recent report from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Getting skills right: Future-ready adult learning systems, shows that Greece’s adult learning system performs poorly across several dimensions of the Priorities of Adult Learning (PAL) dashboard. The PAL dashboard indicates that my country has the weakest overall performance in terms of coverage of job-related adult learning. In addition, according to Eurostat, only a few adults re-skill through adult education courses in Greece. In 2017, less than 5 per cent of 25 to 64 years olds participated in such courses. Where these courses are offered, often they are often under-resourced and ill-equipped to address the challenges faced by these students. Continue reading →
Malak Zaalouk, Chair of UIL’s Governing Board, explains why lifelong learning is at the heart of the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – and why it should be central to the plans and policies of nation states
Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 puts lifelong learning at the heart of the global education policy-making agenda by enjoining Member States to ‘ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all’.
This is already important recognition. However, we have yet to fully realize the potential contribution of lifelong learning either to SDG 4 or to the wider 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This demands the development of inter-sectoral solutions to challenges such as social exclusion, poverty, climate change, mass migration and technological transformation.. Continue reading →