Along with government officials, international aid agencies, education and humanitarian experts, policymakers, teachers and learners, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the Department of Education (DepEd) launched the 2020 Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report on 25 November 2020 virtually.
With the theme “Inclusion and education: All means All,” the national launch was organized to increase awareness of the Report’s messages and recommendations on inclusion in education with a wider education community, with those working on humanitarian responses, and with government officials and policymakers. The event was broadcasted live on the official Facebook of UNESCO Jakarta and the Philippines’ Department of Education.
As part of its progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4)and its targets, the 2020 GEM Report ( https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000373721) provides an in-depth analysis of key factors in exclusion of learners in education systems worldwide, such as background, identity and ability (i.e. gender, age, location, poverty, disability, ethnicity, indigeneity, language, religion, migration or displacement status, sexual orientation or gender identity expression, incarceration, beliefs and attitudes).
One of the numerous examples highlighted in the report is the gender-responsive basic education policy created by DepEd. The policy calls for an end to discrimination based on gender, sexual orientation, and gender identity by defining ways for education administrators and school leaders such as improving curricula and teacher education programmes with the content on bullying, discrimination, gender, sexuality and human rights.
The Report also identifies the heightening of exclusion during the COVID-19 pandemic, where it has shown that about 40% of low and lower-middle income countries have not supported disadvantaged learners during temporary school shutdown.
The event featured speeches and presentations from experts on inclusion from both government and non-governmental organizations, policy makers and practitioners, including a message from UNESCO’s Global Champion of Inclusive Education, Ms Brina Kei Maxino, and performances by the world-renowned and 2009 UNESCO Artist for Peace, the Philippine Madrigal Singers.
The highlight of the event was the live discussion between DepEd Secretary, Professor Emeritus Leonor Magtolis-Briones, and the Director of UNESCO Jakarta, Dr Shahbaz Khan, as they explored the findings of the report and deliberated on issues such as inclusion and education and its implementation; adjustment on the school policies during Covid-19; a horizontal collaboration between government and non-government stakeholders; education budget and spending; grants for students; and, social programs to support education.
Alongside today’s publication, UNESCO GEM Report team has also launched a new website called Profiles Enhancing Education Reviews (PEER) that contains information on laws and policies concerning inclusion in education for every country in the world. According to UNESCO, PEER shows that although many countries still practice education segregation, which reinforces stereotyping, discrimination and alienation, some countries like the Philippines have already crafted education policies strong on inclusiveness that target vulnerable groups.
The 2020 Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report urges countries to focus on those left behind as schools reopen to foster more resilient and equal societies.