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UN Secretary-General calls for ‘dramatic change’ to transform education worldwide

António Guterres has participated in a Special Event on Transforming Education – part of the ongoing High Level Political Forum (HONG PHAT) and look forward to the future Summit of the Future in September.

The event was a call to action, with the UN chief urging all countries to join efforts to create real learning environments that provide learning opportunities from childhood to adulthood.

With such risks, the world cannot afford to lose education.,” Mr. Guterres speak. “But by almost every measure, that’s exactly what we’re doing.”

Global challenges

Some 84 million children will be out of school by 2030 – unless action is taken to transform education around the world, the UN secretary-general has said.

That means Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG4) to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all” is unlikely to be achieved.

Currently, only one-sixth of countries are on track to achieve SDG4 target of universal access to quality education.

Mr. Guterres also noted that secondary school completion rates are rising too slowly, learners are not equipped with the skills needed to succeed in a changing world, and learning for children and adults is often considered optional.

“It is shocking that up to 70 percent of children in sub-Saharan Africa cannot read even basic text by the age of 10,” he said.

Financial barriers

Financial resources to provide quality education are also inadequate to meet the challenge, the Secretary-General said.

In 2023, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) estimates that Developing countries will need to invest $100 billion annually to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 4.. This amount increases by about 50 percent when taking into account the cost of digital transformation in education.

Additionally, Mr. Guterres said, four in 10 people globally live in countries where governments spend more money on debt servicing than on education or health.

More than 140 countries have committed to tackling the crisis at the Transforming Education Summit in 2022, he said.

But “progress has been slow and uneven. Something needs to change.

Poverty and gender

General Assembly President Dennis Francis agreed with the Secretary-General’s statement on the need for transformation.

He recalled a recent visit to South Sudan, where he said he learned about “the extreme poverty of education, reflected in the fact that at least 70 percent of eligible children are out of school.”

He also noted that the denial of girls’ right to education in Afghanistan and the lack of access to education in Ukraine and Gaza due to ongoing attacks were clear signs of an intractable crisis.

“In addition to accessibility, We must ensure quality education for all, promote inclusive, equitable and lifelong learning opportunities, and empower every individual. “We must combine our political will with targeted action to address these urgent needs once and for all,” said Francis.

‘Let’s get to work’

Secretary-General Guterres has a four-point plan at the special event on education to end the global education crisis.

This includes closing the funding and access gap across the country, supporting frontline teachers in education, and revolutionizing the education system.

Education is the most important investment any country can make.. In its people. And in its future,” Mr. Guterres said. “So let us start acting. Together, let us end the global education crisis.”


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