The 2020 Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Reports provides an in-depth analysis of key factors for the exclusion of learners in education systems worldwide including background, identity and ability (i.e. gender, age, location, poverty, disability, ethnicity, indigeneity, language, religion, migration or displacement status, sexual orientation or gender identity expression, incarceration, beliefs and attitudes). It identifies an exacerbation of exclusion during the COVID-19 pandemic and estimates that about 40% of low and lower-middle income countries have not supported disadvantaged learners during temporary school shutdown. This year’s Report is the fourth annual UNESCO GEM Report to monitor progress across 209 countries in achieving the education targets adopted by the UN Member States in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
UNESCO Jakarta, in collaboration with Timor-Leste National Commission for UNESCO and Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of Timor-Leste, organized the National Launch of the 2020 Global Education (GEM) Report with the theme “Inclusion and Education: All means all” on 11 December 2020 in Dili. The launch aimed to inform and increase awareness of the Report’s messages on inclusion in education to multilateral stakeholders and key decision-makers and to forge new cross-sectoral partnerships to tackle crosscutting disadvantages standing in the way of inclusion.
The Minister of Education, Youth and Sports, H.E. Mr Armindo Maia, in his opening remarks shared that one of the overall objectives of the National Education Strategy Plan (NESP) 2011-2030 of Timor-Leste was to promote the educational rights of socially marginalized groups.
This objective is in line with this years’ GEM theme. Mr Maia also added that inclusive education is duty of the State to deliver and it is an inherent right of the society. Mr Maia reiterated the commitment of Timor-Leste to continue working in collaboration with UN Agencies, International Development Partners, Civil Society Organizations, and community based organization to ensure Inclusion and Education take place, to ensure no one left behind, and to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 4 on Quality Education.
The event’s highlight was the panel discussion by four key speakers responding to the Report’s messages. Mr Afonso Soares, Director of Planning from the Directorate of Panning, Partnership and Inclusion of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, presented the Government’s programme on inclusive education and its challenges. Ms Veronica Tilman, a representative from the Timor-Leste Disability Association, shared the legal frameworks of inclusive education in Timor-Leste, their activities and cooperation to improve access to education for people with disabilities.
Mr Atanazio, from the World Food Programme (WFP), pointed up the school feeding programme, as part of the agency’s effort to support the achievement of inclusive in Timor-Leste. Mr Mateus da Silva, Director of Social Solidarity and Inclusion from the Ministry of Social Solidarity, mentioned that everyone has the right to access education, including people with HIV/AIDS. He also conveyed the implementation policy challenges such as limited resources and capacity to produce an action plan to reflect inclusivity in the policies.
The 2020 GEM Report includes material for a digital campaign, All means All, which promotes a set of key recommendations for the next ten years to urges countries to focus on those left behind as schools reopen to foster more resilient and equal societies.