Under the umbrella of education post-COVID-19, on 22 October 2020, Heads of States and Ministers from over 70 countries and international partners met online at an Extraordinary Session of the Global Education Meeting (2020 GEM) which was convened by UNESCO, the Governments of Ghana, Norway and the United Kingdom.
During the meeting, participating high-level representatives adopted a Declaration expressing their strong commitment to protect education financing and outlining measures to be adopted over the next year to safeguard education from the devastating impact of the disruption caused by COVID19.
Representing Bangladesh, Her Excellency Dr. Dipu Moni, Minister of Education of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, joined the meeting. During her remarks, Her Excellency stressed the importance of collaboration and support of the international community, building effective partnership among all stakeholders, better governance, and bridging the digital divide across regions. She further highlighted equity, inclusion and gender equality in addressing the learning gap, and called for attention to teachers’ well-being and upgrading their professional capabilities, including digital and pedagogical skills.
Her Excellency Dr. Dipu Moni stated that “COVID-19 has once again reminded us that we have one world, our lives are interconnected and our destinies intertwined. We need global solidity and multilateral cooperation, more than ever before. Now’s the time to transit the political commitment demonstrated today into effective and meaningful actions, leaving education behind would be a catastrophe for our present and future generations.”
The high-level meeting was formally kicked off by Ms. Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO Director-General, who stated during the opening remarks that “At a time when countries are making difficult choices and trade-offs to turn societies around, education must be our top priority, our pillar for recovery. And yet only a miniscule share – on average less than 1% – has been set aside for education and training in national stimulus packages. Financing education is not a cost: it is our most crucial long-term investment. If we do not allocate this funding now, we will face a bleaker future”.