World Education Forum to set new goals

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World Education Forum to set new goals

Student volunteers for the World Education Forum 2015 pose with Incheon city officials on April 3 in front of Sondgo Convensia in Songdo, Incheon, where the forum will take place from May 19-22. A total of 35 college students are working as volunteers to stage publicity campaigns for the forum. / Courtesy of the World Education Forum 2015

Participants seek to transform lives through education

World Education Forum to set new goals

By Chung Hyun-chaeMore than 1,500 representatives from 195 member states of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), including education ministers and heads of U.N. agencies and NGOs, will gather for the World Education Forum (WEF) 2015 in Songdo, Incheon, from May 19-22 to set new education targets. Organized by UNESCO, the forum plans to build a powerful new agenda that will transform lives through education. The Korean Ministry of Education will host the global forum. Among the co-convening agencies are the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), U.N. Women and the World Bank. Participants will include U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova, U.N. Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka and UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake. New agendaOne of the goals of the forum is to review the progress of the education agenda proposed in the World Conference on Education for All in Jomtien, Thailand, in 1990. “Education for All” (EFA) is a movement to enhance basic education, including early childhood and primary education, and literacy and vocational education. It represents the joint efforts of the international community to provide quality education for all. The movement took a step forward in the WEF 2000 in Dakar, Senegal, by adopting the Dakar Framework for Action. “Based on the evaluation of the progress made thus far, WEF 2015 will propose a more developed goal of expanding access to education and enhancing educational quality and global citizenship education,” Kim Young-gon, secretary-general of the WEF Host Committee Secretariat, said during a media briefing session on May 7. He said the forum will set the future global education agenda in connection with the Millennium Development Goals and Sustainable Development Goals. He added that participants will focus on five key themes for the forum: the right to education, equity in education, inclusive education, quality education and lifelong learning.”Despite all efforts by governments, civic groups and the international community, the world has not achieved education for all,” UNESCO chief Bokova, said in the EFA Global Monitoring Report published this year. “New education targets must be specific, relevant and measurable; marginalized and disadvantaged groups, the hardest to reach and those still not enjoying their right to education must be a priority,” she said. The forum will adopt the Incheon Declaration and the Incheon Framework for Action, which will show the direction and strategic plan for global education over the next 15 years. The final version of the framework will be adopted at the 38th UNESCO General Assembly in November, along with the outcomes of the U.N. Special Summit on Sustainable Development in September. It will be the first time for the global education agenda to become part of the international development framework. Sharing experiences There will be four plenary sessions during the forum, one of which is scheduled on the second day to introduce Korea’s cases of success in education. “UNESCO requested us to share our experiences of successful national development through education with developing countries,” Kim said. A debate on major issues is scheduled on the same day, while there will be two parallel group sessions on May 20 and 21.Besides these, 10 NGO forums on diverse educational issues, including global citizenship education and lifelong education for all through massive open online courses that will take place along with side events and exhibitions under the auspices of the Ministry of Education. Visitors to the exhibitions can keep track of Korea’s education development and have a better understanding of global citizenship education and the utilization of information and communication technology (ICT). Korea’s contribution Global citizenship education and the usage of ICT is where Korea can contribute the most for education compared to other countries. The aim of this is to cultivate people with universal values such as world peace, human rights and diversity. “We have taken the initiative in this kind of education based on our educational experiences in globalization,” Kim said. In a bid to promote global citizenship education nationwide, the Ministry of Education and the Asia-Pacific Centre of Education for International Understanding (APCEIU) under the auspices of UNESCO held a contest in March and announced 33 prize winners on May 7. The winners’ works will be displayed at the event hall during the forum so that participants from all over the world can appreciate them.Korea is believed to have played an important role in applying ICT to education so that people can have easier access to learning.

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