In Dhaka, Director-General opens E-9 Ministerial Meeting: an alliance for Education 2030
Leadership from the E-9 group of high population countries can catalyze educational progress for the world, affirmed UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova at the opening of the E9 Ministerial Meeting on Education 2030 with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, in Dhaka, Bangladesh on 5 February 2017.
The event, hosted by the Government of Bangladesh, is the first E-9 Ministerial meeting since the adoption of the SDGs and the Education 2030 Framework of Action.
“Every E-9 country has a powerful story to tell, a story of development, a story of action, which is essential for the success of the new agenda,” said Ms Bokova. Noting that the 2030 Agenda embodies a new vision of education for the 21st century, she stated that “we need a radical break in how we work, how we cooperate and how we partner.”
She encouraged E-9 countries to build equity into education policy and financing, carry out joint advocacy and actions, work across sectors for a holistic approach, and place attention on new skills for green citizenship, peace and intercultural dialogue in curricula.
The Director-General praised progress made across the E-9 countries, placing focus on Bangladesh, which assumes the Chairmanship of this platform for the first time, taking the relay from Pakistan. “Bangladesh is rising, because it is investing in its citizens, its youth, in girls and young women – it is rising because education is the beating heart of this success,” she said.
Placing education in the global context, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina stated that “we live in a world where we depend on each other, despite our diversity... Education places a bridging role in promoting mutual understanding, tolerance and friendship. Education supports inclusion, decreases violence against women and promotes empowerment.” She stated that the E-9 meeting represents a ‘historic opportunity” to deliver new orientations based on SDG4-Education 2030, through sharing best practices and action plans, promoting new modes of partnerships together with regional and international dialogue.
The Prime Minister recalled that education has been the national priority of Bangladesh since its independence in 1971, when the right to free and compulsory education was inscribed in the Constitution. She outlined a range of measures that the country has taken to drive educational progress and reach gender parity in primary and secondary education. These include scholarship and stipend schemes for disadvantaged groups, a massive distribution of free textbooks, pre-primary books in mother language, and the expansion of open and distance learning.
During the opening ceremony, Minister Muhammad Baligh Ur Rehman of Pakistan handed over the E-9 Chairmanship to Bangladesh. He noted that as Chair, Pakistan had conducted joint advocacy for education, with emphasis on literacy, primary education and increased development assistance. Stating that the “E9 is a historic commitment of Member States,” he stressed the need to “leapfrog” ahead through “smart and more collaborative” efforts.
Assuming the Chairmanship, Minister Nurul Islam Nahid of Bangladesh outlined the challenges ahead and underscored the political and social responsibility to create momentum around the E-9 network to push forward on SDG4-Education 2030.
The E-9 Delegations in Dhaka are headed by Mr Xiaohong Li, Vice Minister of Education of the People’s Republic of China; Sh. Upendra Kushwaha, Minister of State for Human Resource Development of India; Dr El-Helali El-Sherbiny El-Helali, Minister of Education and Technical Education of the Arab Republic of Egypt; Prof Anthony Anwukah, Minister of State for Education of Nigeria, Mr Muhammad Baligh Ur Rehman, Minister of State for Federal Education and Professional Training of Pakistan, as well as Mr Totk Suprayinto, Head of Research and Development Agency, Ministry of Education and Culture of Indonesia.
The E-9 countries - Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria and Pakistan – are home to over half of the world’s population, two-thirds of the world’s illiterate adults and nearly one-half of the world’s out-of-school children and youth.
Launched in 1993, the E-9 Initiative is a networking platform to to share experiences in educational policy, exchange best practices and monitor progress. UNESCO is the Secretariat for this Initiative and supports the coordination of the network, which has a rotating two-year chairmanship.
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