» An end of year message from UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Education Mr Qian Tang
20.12.2016 - Education Sector

An end of year message from UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Education Mr Qian Tang

© UNESCO - Assistant Director-General for Education Mr Qian Tang launches a UNESCO-China-Funds-in-Trust education project in Liberia

In an interview Assistant Director-General for Education Mr Qian Tang speaks about the highlights of 2016, the continued focus on UNESCO’s education priority areas and what he expects from 2017.

“This is the first year of the new sustainable development agenda which includes the education goal 4, the aim of which is to achieve education for all by 2030. UNESCO has been working very hard to carry out its two functions assisting member states to implement at country level and coordinating and monitoring at the global level.

He said the Organization had been working at the country level in many Member States assisting them to align their national strategies and policies with the targets of SDG4 and organizing consultation meetings to provide opportunities to exchange best practices in realizing the aims of the education goal.

“Other highlights were the publication of the Global Education Monitoring Report 2016 which was launched in more than 80 countries and the meetings of the Steering Committee which provided a mechanism for coordination for the Member States and other partners,” he said.  

Keeping the focus on priority areas

“Gender equity continues to be a priority because we believe that providing equal quality education to girls and women remains a major challenge in the world. To that end we continue to promote equity and inclusion,” he said.  

“We do this by mainstreaming gender equity into the implementation of all our programmes whether it is literacy or skills for work and life. Alongside the programmes we have large projects which focus on gender equity in education such as the Malala fund which promotes access to good quality education for girls in rural areas of Pakistan,” he said.

Africa is similarly kept to the fore.  

“It is my belief that if we say Africa is a priority that means we have to put that in to practice. For example, in our regular programme budget Africa has the biggest share, in our field staff structure, the African Region has the biggest share. And when we mobilize extra-budgetary resources for sponsoring education programmes, Africa has the biggest share.

“For example, we have the CapED which supported 28 countries in 2016, many in sub-Saharan Africa. Each year we disburse about 9 million dollars. Since the beginning of the Programme in 2003, we have mobilized over USD 80 million dollars,” he said.

When asked for his wishes for 2017 Mr Tang said: “The first year of implementing SDG4 is almost over but our efforts to realise its aims continue. We began with advocacy and now we move to implementation at the country level. At the same time, UNESCO is playing a leading role in developing areas such as global citizenship and education for sustainable development. Next year we would like to more concrete work at country level on these two themes,” he said.

“We will continue to work to provide concrete assistance to Member States through capacity-building, advice, monitoring and the review of their policy and through global coordination and cooperation so that they can implement SDG4 in their country.”

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