UNESCO convenes Global Education Meeting to set priorities for learning recovery and protect financing

Paris: UNESCO, in partnership with the Governments of Ghana, Norway and the United Kingdom, are convening a virtual Global Education Meeting on 20 and 22 October. The meeting aims to secure commitments from leaders for the protection of education financing during the COVID-19 recovery, and produce consensus on priority actions for the next year.

The COVID-19 pandemic has created the most severe disruption to global education systems in history, forcing more than 1.6 billion learners out of school at the height of the crisis. It has exacerbated pre-existing inequalities and impacted vulnerable learners the hardest. The pandemic threatens to reverse decades of progress in education. The economic downturn will put increasing pressure on national education budgets and aid to education at a time when higher funding is required for the sector to recover. According to projections, even if the budget share allocated to education remains stable, overall public spending could drop by 8% and aid to education could fall by 12%

In this context, the meeting will provide a unique platform for exchange among high-level political leaders, ministers, policy-makers, multilateral organizations, development partners and global education actors to protect and rethink education in the current and post-COVID-19 world.

The event is a strategic opportunity for Member States and the international community to maintain and boost their commitment to education as the most critical investment for a sustainable recovery and future.

A set of global priority actions for the recovery and strengthening of education systems will focus around the following five themes considered central to the COVID-19 response:

Protect domestic and international financing of education

Reopen schools safely

Focus on inclusion, equity and gender equality

Reimagine teaching approaches and learning outcomes

Harness equitable connectivity and technologies for learning

These action areas build on recommendations in the UN Secretary-General’s policy brief on “Education during Covid-19 and beyond” coordinated by UNESCO as well as the White Paper produced by the Save our Future campaign.

A technical part of the meeting will take place on the 20 October from 1 to 4 pm (CEST – Paris), followed by a high-level segment on the 22 October from 1 to 3pm (CEST – Paris).

Leading up to the meeting, UNESCO has facilitated a series of consultations on a Declaration that is expected to be adopted at the leaders’ segment of the Global Education Meeting on 22 October.

The consultations were held regionally with Member States, the SDG-Education 2030 Steering Committee, the Collective Consultation of NGOs on Education 2030, multilateral organizations and regional organizations, as well as other key stakeholders.