WISE words about education at Doha
“Business as usual” is not working for education systems, whether funding them on the one hand, or improving their effectiveness on the other. Both Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO and Qian Tang, UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for Education, called for innovative solutions in their speeches at the World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE), which took place from 7-9 December in Doha, Qatar.
Ms Bokova stressed that a first imperative was to convince countries to invest out of the economic crisis through education. “It is not simply about money, as the experience of OECD countries shows,” she pointed out. “It’s also about how money is best used.”
Governments should reduce inefficiencies and develop “a culture of results”, Ms Bokova said. At the same time, innovative mechanisms had to be found to complement traditional forms of financing.
“We know that simply building schools, training teachers or distributing books does not guarantee that any learning will take place,” remarked Mr Tang in his address on “Improving education systems”. Mr Tang confirmed that UNESCO’s top priority was to speed up access to quality learning, notably through capacity-building. He cited UNESCO’s Capacity Development for Education for All (CapEFA) programme which helps countries improve the effectiveness of their education systems, using as a concrete example UNESCO’s work with Côte d’Ivoire.
An international forum and collaborative platform, the second edition of WISE brought together over 1,000 education stakeholders to share innovative ideas for education in the 21st century.
The WISE initiative is supported by UNESCO, the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU), Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie (AUF), International Association of University Presidents (IAUP), Institute of International Education (IIE) and RAND Corporation.