12 July, UN Room A, New York: ICAE and Education Academia Stakeholder Groups (EASG) hosted a side-event on “Education and lifelong learning at the gateway of the Global Agenda.”
As announced, side-event reitterated the understanding of education as an important human right as well as an enabling right – and, thus, a precondition for the dignity for human life, while education and lifelong learning are considered being at the heart of decent work, equality, environmental sustainability, and peaceful, just societies.
Since recent UNESCO data shows that we are lagging behind and that we will not be able the achieve the SDG4 targets without a radical change of approach, business as usual will have ’the usual’ results: hundreds of millions of children out of school, eight hundred million illiterate adults, poor infrastructure, unqualified and unsupported teachers. Thus, education will not be able to unlock all its power needed for sustainable and just development. Moreover, huge number of people will be left behind.
This side-event explored elements and approaches that can contribute to the significant improvement of the quality and completion of education at all levels and across the globe, the preconditions, the musts and must not’s in education as well as in other sectors, for fostering sustainable development and human rights as a way of life. The questions discussed were: What data are needed and what kind of financing? What are important target groups? What is the role of teachers and why do we need public education? What are the good practices and solutions that have been proven to work?
Building on critical and intersectoral approaches and promoting dialogue and coordination in the education sector, this side-event has busted some myths around the implementation and monitoring of SDG4, recognising the indivisibility and interdependence of all human rights across the 17 SDGs, with the special focus on the strengthening public education and lifelong learning.
The interactive session stretched from the question of quality education to efforts that have been made to achieve inclusion. The panelists invited participants to get involved in the discussion and interaction was arranged by Ricarda Motschilnig, ICAE Policy Officer. The introduction was made by Madeleine Zuniga from Global Campaigne for Education (GCE). The talks started with Dr. Katarina Popovic of ICAE, who introduced two important topics – financing of education and digitalisation, by busting some myths around them (domestic resource mobilisation and use of ICT as ‘silver bulets’ for all problems in education). Dr. Silvia Montoya of UIS, who has taken a leadership around monitoring and indicators for #SDG4, explained why collection of reliable data is the way to make the case for education. Antonia Wulff of Education International (EI) and an OP of Education and Academia Stakeholder Group identified the challenges of teachers as experts in education, their working condition, and the growing privatization in education. Lastly, Manos Antononinies, Director of Global Education Monitoring Report offered some data from the last GEMR and looked at the equal opportunities that should be offered to migrants and displaced people, who are considered to be most at risk to be left behind. In the monitoring aspect, he shared that both qualitative and quantitative data matters. The discussion was moderated by Robert Napier from European Students’ Union (ESU), also an OP of Education and Academia Stakeholder Group. In the closing words, Madeleine Zuniga summarised all elements, steps and measures mentioned and needed for achieving SDG4 and goals related to it.