Published on 22-06-2022 on the Emirates Thinkers platform
In the latter half of September, the United Nations Organization will hold the Transforming Education Summit 2022 at its headquarters in New York, attended by the leaders of various countries of the world. In preparation for this global gathering, the Ministers of Education will meet at the end of June at the headquarters of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in Paris to prepare for the upcoming summit, which will set priorities for educational work, and explore various dimensions of the educational process worldwide.
Specialist work teams have been assigned to coordinate efforts and preparations for the organization of this global event. In this article, in my capacity as a member of the High Committee preparing the reports and recommendations to be presented at the summit, I will set forth the course of the work taking place in preparation for the summit, and its main themes.
First of all, the importance of the Transforming Education Summit 2022 is attributable to the renewed challenges facing the educational sector worldwide. The experience of countries and governments during the Coronavirus pandemic, with the accompanying widespread use of distance learning technology, has cast a shadow over the course of the educational process. How will education be in the future? What are the main challenges it faces globally? These are the key questions of the upcoming summit, which revolves around five main themes:
- Theme One: Inclusive, equitable, safe and healthy schools - that is, supplying a healthy and safe educational environment that provides for gender equality in education, ensures appropriate learning during global disasters and crises, and fulfills the conditions for integrating children with disabilities into public education and in suitable rehabilitation centres; ensuring the school environment takes public health conditions into account, and students get their share of healthy nutrition, realizing the principle of "a healthy mind in a healthy body."
- Theme Two: Education and skills for life, work and sustainable development. Attaining the keys to knowledge and life skills, in addition to the skills needed for the new labour market, in particular the skills involved in creating jobs that achieve sustainable development.
- Theme Three: Teachers, teaching and the professionalization of education. This theme addresses the acute global shortage of teachers, the professionalism required of them, and their continuing development over the course of their work - i.e., providing a suitable work environment for them, in addition to training a professional educational leadership that encourages creativity and innovation.
- Theme Four: Digital learning and transformation. This involves a discussion of the issues surrounding the digital transformation of schools, and how to provide digital learning resources for all, especially free resources, in addition to ensuring the security of digital education, privacy, and maintaining the safety of students in the course of their integration into the electronic world, or what is known as digital citizenship.
- Theme Five: Funding education. This requires the allocation of appropriate budgets for education in the various countries of the world, especially given that success in implementing solutions in all the previous areas is linked to the availability of an appropriate budget. The key issue at stake in all of this is that the funds allocated for education should be directed to the educational field itself, and not wasted on matters that are of little benefit to students; as someone once said, “If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.”
Therefore, the Transforming Education Summit 2022 - with its five themes - sets out the steps for developing education worldwide, and represents an important opportunity for re-imagining education and accelerating its progress, thereby achieving development goals.