25.10.2011 - Education Sector

Education at the UNESCO General Conference

© UNESCO/Roger, Dominique

UNESCO’s 36th General Conference ( 25 October - 10 November, UNESCO, Paris) will determine UNESCO’s work and policies and fix its programme and budget for 2012-2013. Education is the largest programme of all, and therefore presents specific challenges.

Challenge number one is to ensure a more coordinated approach in working towards the EFA goals for the 2015 deadline and beyond. A new architecture of the global EFA coordination mechanism is expected to allow for UNESCO to take the lead in coordinating efforts among the numerous stakeholders in the Education for All (EFA) movement, including UNESCO Member States, the five EFA convening agencies, civil society and the private sector.  

Challenge number two is a balancing act: to ensure a holistic vision of education while focusing on particular thematic areas - especially in times of financial constraint.  

UNESCO promotes a holistic approach to education systems. This typically requires quality teacher training and management, strong higher education systems, development of curricula to nurture global citizenship, coherent policies and the promotion of education outside schools. However, in difficult financial situations, the challenge is to ensure that UNESCO continues to work in all relevant areas while focusing on particular areas for greater impact.  

UNESCO will aim to strike the right balance in maintaining a holistic vision while keeping a programmatic and geographical focus on countries furthest from achieving EFA. 

Composed of UNESCO Member States, Associate Members and observers from other organizations, the General Conference meets every two years. Each country has one vote. Its working languages are Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish.


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