On October 7 UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova gave an on-line lecture to students from 38 universities in all regions enrolled in the “Global Classroom on Sustainable Development.” This Global Masters on development Practice course is led by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network at Columbia University, New York.
As part of the “Foundations of Sustainable Development Practice” course, the Director-General shared views on the decisive importance of placing education at the centre of sustainable development, both as a fundamental human right and a transformational force.
Arguing that “education is the bedrock of sustainability,” she provided evidence about its powerful impact across all development sectors, from poverty eradication to girls’ and women’s empowerment, and drew lessons from the past decade for the post-2015 agenda.
She called for a paradigm shift in education to support the one needed in development, emphasizing the contribution of Education for Sustainable Development, and UNESCO’s actions to foster attitudes, values and new competencies through education, ahead of the World Conference in Nagoya, Japan in November.
Drawing on UNESCO’s leadership of the UN decade for Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014), she provided examples of positive changes under way in countries across the world, in education systems, working also with the private sector as well as civil society.
This lecture also fits in with UNESCO’s commitment to promote Open Educational Resources, which offer vast potential for widening access to learning at a time when our societies are increasingly driven by knowledge.