Monday, June 17, 2024

UN chief establishes high-level education panel

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has launched a high-level teachers’ panel, and appointed former Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid and former President of Trinidad and Tobago Paula-Mae Weekes as its co-chairs.

Farhan Haq, the deputy spokesman for Guterres, said on Monday that the High-Level Panel on the Teaching Profession builds on the outcome of the September 2022 Transforming Education Summit and is supported by a joint UNESCO-International Labour Organisation (ILO) Secretariat.

According to a UN announcement, the panel draws expertise from Ministries of Education and Labor, teachers, students, representatives of teacher unions, and representatives of civil society, the private sector and academia.

“Education remains a centerpiece of global and national efforts to achieve sustainable development, protect human rights and sustain peace,” the statement said.

“However, the world is experiencing a global learning crisis and education systems are struggling to respond to the needs of a rapidly changing world.”

At the Transforming Education Summit, national governments from more than 130 countries committed to taking urgent action, Xinhua news agency reported.

In this context, teachers, the single most influential variable in achieving learning outcomes, are under considerable strain. A persistent global teacher shortage on the one hand, and concerns around the role of teachers in an increasingly digital learning environment on the other hand, are among the many factors that are making the job of teaching increasingly challenging, the statement added.

It said the panel would build on the summit discussions and clarify the role of teachers in education transformation. Panel members would recommend ensuring every student has a professionally trained, qualified, well-supported teacher who can flourish in a transformed education system.

The panel’s report, expected by the end of November, would contribute to broader efforts in achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 as an input to preparations for the 2024 Summit of the Future and help advance follow-up on the education summit, said the statement.

SDG 4, one of the 17 UN SDGs for 2030, calls for inclusive and equitable quality education, and lifelong learning opportunities for all.

The ex-officio members named to the panel are Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO, Gilbert Houngbo, Director-General of the ILO, and Leonardo Garnier, special adviser to Guterres on follow-up to the Transforming Education Summit.

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