UNESCO at G20: promoting policies to shape the future of education, life and work

As major transformations arise from globalization, digitalization and more complex and diverse societies, there is a growing need to develop education policies that equip children, young people and adults for an uncertain and changing future.

The introduction comes from the agenda of the G20 meeting in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where UNESCO, as well as representatives from the world’s 19 major economies, met on the 12-13 April to discuss how to promote public policies that can unleash people’s potential and address the future of work.

The Education Working Group was coordinated by the Argentine Ministry of Education and addressed two main issues: Skills for life and work and the Financing of education in their discussion about public policies.

The questions raised were such as: how can we achieve a future where all citizens are fully involved and integrated; how can we ensure high-quality and inclusive education systems in a rapidly changing society; and what skills and education policies are needed to foster an active citizenship that is committed to sustainable development.

Financing education and identifying skills for the future

The Education Working Group agreed that there is a pressing need to identify the skills that will be required to achieve full integration of citizens in the labour market and society, and guarantee their full human development in a lifelong learning perspective. The Group addressed the need in promoting cognitive, non-cognitive and digital skills through inclusive education policies, with a special focus on the most vulnerable groups.

Participating at the event’s opening were Marcos Peña, Chief of the Cabinet of Ministers of Argentina; Alejandro Finocchiaro, Minister of Education; Pedro Villagra Delgado, Argentine G20 sherpa; and Shiro Terashima, Director at the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.

“We are living in exciting times of technological transformation, with new challenges facing governments, civil societies, and the academic sector on how we educate our children,” said Marcos Peña. “This group can help our leaders, giving them ideas on how to advance and work together to adapt our education and training systems to this new reality,” he added.

UNESCO Headquarters was represented by Borhene Chakroun, Section Chief of Youth, Literacy and Skills Development, Manos Antoninis, Director of the Global Education Monitoring Report (the GEM Report) and Jordan Naidoo, Director of the Division for Education 2030 Support and Coordination​ at UNESCO. Dr. Mmantsetsa Marope, Director, represented the UNESCO International Bureau for Education (UNESCO-IBE).

Borhene Chakroun emphasised that only a lifelong learning approach with a focus on learning pathways can support the workforce transitions and simultaneously equip the current and next generation of the workforce with the skills they will need for a not-yet-imagined future.

The Group of Twenty (G20) is a leading forum made up of 19 countries and the world's major economies, that seeks to develop global policies to address today’s most pressing challenges.

It started out in 1999 and is today a major forum for dialogue and decision-making attended by world leaders from vital economies.

The new Education Working Group will hold meetings on 12-13 April, 11-12 June, and 3-4 September, and a joint session with the Employment Working Group on 4 September.