World seeks new vision for education

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World seeks new vision for education

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, center, speaks during a press conference following the opening ceremony of the World Education Forum 2015 at the Songdo Convensia in Incheon, Tuesday. Sitting with him are UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova, right, and Korea’s Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister Hwang Woo-yea. / Korea Times photo by Shim Hyun-chul

UNESCO chief affirms ‘unshakable commitment’

World seeks new vision for education

By Jung Min-hoINCHEON ― “An unshakable commitment to education” is what made Korea’s “Miracle on the Han River,” and the world today needs more miracles, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova said Tuesday.”In 1990, the world met in Jomtien in Thailand. In 2000, it met in Dakar, Senegal, and adopted six education goals. Today, the world meets in Incheon in the Republic of Korea to renew this vision and chart a new course,” she said. “Over 130 education ministers from across the world gathered here, inspired by this vision.”About 1,500 education authorities and experts from around the world gathered for the World Education Forum (WEF) 2015 at the Songdo Convensia to set out a vision for global education over the next 15 years.Korean President Park Geun-hye said education was the foundation of the Miracle on the Han River and pledged to help other countries accomplish their own miracles.”After the devastating Korean War, Korean students dreamed of a better life, studying with the books provided by UNESCO,” she said. “We will never forget the support.”Park said Korea, with its advanced information and communications technology (ICT), can and will make a great contribution to lifting the quality of global education to the next level by applying ICT to education so that people can have easier access to learning.At the three-day event, participants will first evaluate how UNESCO member states have done over the past 15 years in terms of achieving the goals set under the previous agenda, “Education for All.”The unaccomplished goals will be included in the new blueprint, which will be asserted in the Incheon Declaration at the closing of the WEF on Thursday.Some meaningful pledges have already been made.The World Bank, which aims to end extreme poverty by 2030, said it will allocate $5 billion ― double its spending of the previous five years ― to improve the quality of global education over the next five years.The World Bank has adopted a results-based financing system, in which countries will only get money if they meet agreed performance targets. Its President Jim Yong Kim said proper investment in education and better results in classrooms “will help end extreme poverty.””The truth is that most education systems are not serving the poorest children well. An estimated 250 million children cannot read or write, even though many have attended school for years,” Kim said. “This is a tragedy.”With nearly a billion people trapped in extreme poverty today, he said, “sustained efforts to improve learning for children will unlock huge amounts of human potential for years to come.”The bank has spent about $40 billion on educational projects since 2000 but, over the past five years, just $2.5 billion of this has been results-based. Kim said he hopes to replicate the success the bank has had using the same results-based funding model to meet health targets.During the event, discussions and exhibitions by more than 130 NGOs on diverse educational issues, including global citizenship education and lifelong education for all through the Internet, will be held at the venue.As key partners of the WEF, NGOs will make a joint statement, which will also be reflected in the Incheon Declaration.Notably, the Korea Civil Society Forum on International Development Cooperation (KOFID), one of the NGOs participating in the event, held a special performance just outside the Convensia to urge governments to prioritize their resources for children’s education.”Education is a fundamental human right for every person,” KOFID said. “But 57 million children worldwide don’t have access to education and more than 50 percent of these children are in fragile and conflict-affected states.”Discussions over the Incheon Framework for Action, which is to show the direction and strategic plan for future global education, will be highlighted today. 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.Also, a special session, titled “Education and Developing the Nation,” will be held that day. At the session, how a country with little natural resources could rise with the power of education will be discussed, and the results of the discussion will also be reflected in the Incheon Declaration.The forum succeeds the World Conference on Education for All in Jomtien, Thailand in 1990 and the WEF in Dakar, Senegal, in 2000.

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