EDUCATION MINISTERS CALL FOR
BOOST QUALITY EDUCATION
Geneva, September 8 (No.
2001-96) - 80 education ministers and some 600 delegates from 127 nations today
called for education reform, notably a better policy dialogue with civil
society, a greater involvement of teachers in education policy-making, and a
bolder set of actions to close the gap between quantitative advances in school
enrollment and qualitative improvements in teaching.
International Conference on Education (ICE) -- the first to be convened in five
years -- closed today with the adoption of a four-page document that illustrates
the need to boost the quality of teaching in the face of scientific and
technological advances, multiculturalism and globalization.
The ICE “conclusions and
proposals for action” notably calls for the training of education
decision-makers to discuss and harmonize policy formulation with other actors --
notably civil society organizations (CSOs) - in order to best identify common
goals, to broaden consensus and to mobilize productive partnerships.
Koďchiro Matsuura today advocated an expanded role for CSOs in a speech at the
opening of a “Special Session on the Involvement of Civil Society in Education
In his address to the education
ministers and delegates, Mr Matsuura decried the “ideas gap” between states
and civil society and illustrated the role that CSOs play as innovators,
informed critics, advocates, and alternative service providers in education. He
outlined UNESCO’s actions over the past year to try to build “a new culture
of policy dialogue” involving CSOs and NGOs as full “policy partners”
alongside UNESCO’s 188 Member States.
In addition to pledging a broader cooperation
in education policy-making, the ministers and delegates stressed the need to
reshape and update their school curricula to reflect:
the economic and social changes set in motion
by globalization, migration and cultural diversity;
the ethical dimensions of scientific and
the contributions that can result from
integrating technologies into the learning process;
the need to prepare societies for a global era
of communication, not just in official national languages but in indigenous and
the need to develop school curricula that best
ensure relevance at the local, national and international level.
The final conference document urges
policy-shapers to facilitate a genuine involvement by teachers and students in
decision-making through training and other means, and advocates practical
research, curriculum development and teaching methodologies related to the
conference’s unifying theme: “Learning to Live Together”.
International Bureau of Education organized the ICE meeting from 5-8 September.
The conference’s conclusions and proposals will next be presented at the 31st
session of UNESCO’s General Conference (15 October to 3 November 2001).