One year after the launch of the Educate a Child initiative by Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova joined key partners at the World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) in Doha on 30 October to take stock and single out priorities to achieve universal primary education by 2015.
Entitled “Educating at the Extreme,” the plenary panel brought together Her Highness Sheikha Moza, UN Special Envoy for Global Education Gordon Brown, UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres; UNRWA Commissioner-General Filippo Grandi, the State Secretary from Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, Mr Hans Jurgen Beerfeltz, and the Director-General.
The discussions focused on strategies for global resource mobilization, protecting education in emergencies and the need to take into account linguistic and cultural diversity to reach marginalized children.
Her Highness Sheikha Moza underlined the success of multisectoral approaches and the need for more sensitivity to cultural identities.
“We have to match the commitment to education with a cultural commitment; we have to give confidence to learners that their heritage and culture will not be lost.”
Drawing attention to the thousands of endangered languages worldwide, the Director-General highlighted that learning in mother tongue at primary level has proven benefits, noting that “sensitivity to cultural diversity and linguistic diversity is a way to reach the marginalized and must be part of the post-2015 education agenda. ”
Asked to comment on prevailing data gaps on the hardest to reach children, Ms Bokova noted the importance of governments conducting self-assessments in the lead up to 2015 in order to set the right policies, insisting that governments must be held responsible for education.