Detailed programme - 20 May

09:00-10:30 Plenary Session 1

Education 2030 - Proposed Agenda and Framework for Action

Moderator : Mr Ahlin Byll-Cataria, former Executive Secretary, Association for the Development of Education in Africa
Presentation by Mr Qian Tang, Assistant Director-General for Education, UNESCO
This session discussed the overall 2030 education agenda and Framework for Action, and the draft WEF 2015 Declaration.

11:00-12:30 Thematic Debates

These six parallel thematic debates generated discussions around six cross-cutting issues to deepen understanding of the thinking underlying Sustainable Development Goal 4 on education.

Parallel session 1. Equity and inclusion – Leaving no one behind (organized by UNICEF)

Chair : Mr Anthony Lake, Executive Director, UNICEF
Education is one of the most wide-reaching and beneficial development investments. Yet the optimism that characterized early progress – build more schools and they will come – has not reached the poorest children, those living in conflict situations, refugees, internally displaced people, or children facing discrimination based on location, gender, disability or ethnic minority status. This thematic debate focused on the major challenges and opportunities to inform a robust inclusive social agenda. The objective was to convene an evidence-based debate on equity in education; equip policy and decision-makers with tools to advocate for equity and inclusion; and encourage governments to identify and target resources for the groups being left furthest behind. The session was organized around two moderated panel discussions combining speakers from various fields including Ministers of Education, UN representatives, economists, academics and civil society organizations.

Parallel session 2. Education in conflict and crisis (organized by UNHCR)

Chair : Mr Daniel Endres, Director, Division of External Relations, UNHCR
This session addressed the question of how we ensure access to education for children and young people in crisis-affected situations in the 2030 agenda. Invited speakers outlined how conflict and crisis have hampered progress towards realizing the Education for All goals and the way forward to mitigate the impact of crisis on achievement of the 2030 education targets. Highlighting key challenges, good practices and lessons learned, the discussion focused on the need for crisissensitive planning, partnerships and financing in the 2030 agenda era to ensure that every child in crisis-affected situations has access to safe, quality education.

Parallel session 3. Can financing for results help us achieve learning for all? (organized by the World Bank Group)

Chair : Mr Keith Hansen, Vice-President, World Bank Group
This thematic debate will highlight the critical role of financing in the achievement of the education goal to ensure inclusive equitable, quality education and lifelong learning for all. This thematic debate will: (i) provide an overview of current education financing and the challenges associated with financing the 2030 education agenda; (ii) underscore the need for more equitable, efficient and innovative financing in education; (iii) highlight the experiences through country cases and share recommended strategies to improve the results of both domestic and international education investments. Panellists will discuss issues related to education financing and strategies that have successfully led to more and better education services and results, especially for the most marginalized.

Parallel session 4. Achieving gender equality in education and empowering women and girls: looking ahead and planning together (organized by UN Women)

Chair : Ms Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director, UN Women
Despite decades of promoting education for all, gender equality in education remains an elusive and incomplete agenda. Women and girls have not benefited equally from education and training.
Even when they have access to education, girls face many interrelated and intersecting challenges that prevent them from reaching their full potential. Today’s challenges remain despite firm and strong
global commitments to address the education of girls and women as a priority. This thematic debate looks forward to a cross-sectoral approach to tackling these challenges in an effort to achieve the proposed SDG4 (Education), while also enhancing the empowerment of women and girls as foreseen in the proposed SDG5 (Achieving gender equality and empowering women and girls). Lessons will be drawn, as applicable, from the implementation of earlier intergovernmental commitments and frameworks, including Education for All, the Beijing Platform for Action and the MDGs.

Parallel session 5. Placing quality education at the centre of lifelong learning (organized by UNESCO)

Chair : Mr David Edwards, Deputy General Secretary, Education International
More children are in school than ever before, but what are they learning? The 2014 GMR estimates that 250 million children do not know the basics, whether or not they had schooling, and that 200 million young people leave schools without the skills they need to thrive. There is growing consensus that focus needs to be placed on the quality of education in the 2030 education agenda. Yet views differ regarding the nature and determinants of a ‘good quality education’, as well on the most effective policy levers for enhancing knowledge and skills acquisition. This session will examine key strategies to advance the quality of education and improve learning outcomes, including through addressing the shortage of teachers and their qualifications, curricular relevance, the availability of learning materials, and learning processes and environments. It will also look at how quality education can best be measured and monitored.

Parallel session 6. Innovating through technology: shaping the future of education (organized by UNESCO)

Chair : Ms Dorothy Gordon, Chair of the Governing Board, UNESCO International Institute for Capacity Building in Africa
Education has been slow to embrace innovations and technologies that have improved other sectors such as health and entertainment. Schooling today looks strikingly similar to schooling provided 50 years ago. Yet at a moment when there are as many internet-connected devices on the planet as there are people, few doubt that technology is likely to disrupt traditional models of learning. For many observers, the question is not whether technological innovation will change education, but when and how. What should government do to ensure that technology enhances pedagogy, meets the needs of students and teachers, and improves educational outcomes? This session will examine strategies to make education systems more effective through technology, paying close attention to principles that should guide this process. It will seek to reconcile tension between competing claims about the utility and value of technology, and determine how education systems can better identify, incubate and scale up innovative ideas.

12:30-14:30 Lunchtime side-events

14:30-16:00 Parallel Group Session 1

Discussing the global targets

These 10 parallel group sessions will discuss the global targets of the 2030 education agenda and education-related targets of other SDGs. Specific focus will be given to key policy measures, strategies and priority actions that are proposed in the Framework for Action to support their implementation and formulate recommendations.

Parallel session 1. Quality primary and secondary education – an increased focus on learning

Chair : Ms Claudia Costin, Senior Director, World Bank Group
This session will address the target to ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and effective learning outcomes. A focus on learning and equity will be at the forefront of the discussion, which will bring to light the challenges and opportunities surrounding how education systems can provide all children with quality basic education that will enable them to learn the skills necessary to succeed in life and work. Panellists will share knowledge and experience in this area, highlighting in particular strategies and priority areas that help ensure this education target is achievable.

Parallel session 2. Early childhood care and education – a critical investment for lifelong learning and development

Chair : Ms Pia Rebello Britto, Senior Advisor, Early Childhood Development, UNICEF
Early Childhood Development, the first stage of lifelong learning, is the great equalizer. Young children and families who have access to quality care, nutrition, protection and education are not only more likely to beat the odds of disadvantage but also contribute to societal and economic development. Therefore, equitable and early investment in quality early childhood care and education (ECCE) programmes is required to achieve results in children’s development and learning. The aim of this session is to increase global commitment to investing in this target by outlining the investment rationales for ECCE, sharing and discussing effective strategies for addressing and monitoring the equity, quality, holistic approach and outcomes of ECCE services and programmes. The session is organized around a moderated discussion among panel experts from various fields including Ministers of Education, UN representatives, economists, academics and civil society organizations.

Parallel session 3. Higher education – preparing youth and adults for work and lifelong learning

Chair : Mr David Atchoarena, Director, UNESCO
At no time in history has it been more important to invest in higher education. Demand for access to tertiary programmes has surged, fuelled by unprecedented numbers of secondary school graduates and the greatly increased need for trained teachers generated by global efforts to achieve the Education for All goals. At the same time, a rapidly-changing labour market is placing new demands on higher education as an important component of lifelong learning pathways, while societies are increasingly relying on research and innovation carried out by tertiary institutions. This session will consider how societies can accommodate growing demand for higher education in the post-2015 era, promote internationalization, design funding systems that foster quality and equity, and strengthen the contribution of higher education institutions to graduates’ employment and job creation.

Parallel session 4. Skills for work and entrepreneurship 

Chair : Mr Hamed Al Hammami, Director, UNESCO
Skills development will be an important feature of the 2030 education agenda, while at the same time being deeply embedded in the broader global development agenda. Yet challenges such as lack of TVET policy coordination and coherence, weak governance structures, skills gaps and the low relevance of vocational qualifications are impeding TVET’s contribution to sustainable development.
Addressing this requires shifting TVET from a supply-driven mode to one that is impelled by the demands of the world of work and individuals. In addition to work-specific skills, attention must be paid to entrepreneurship, problem solving, ‘learning to learn’, and other high-level cognitive and interpersonal skills that are essential for decent work and lifelong learning. This session will consider how governments can promote systemic reforms, including through strengthening links with the private sector and other stakeholders outside the TVET sector; improve the relevance of qualifications; and increase and diversify funding for skills development.

Parallel session 5. Ensuring equity and gender equality in education and training: perspectives from vulnerable populations

Chair : Mr Yannick Glemarec, Deputy Executive Director, UN Women
Despite progress made towards achieving the Education for All goals, disadvantaged and marginalized groups, including people with disabilities, indigenous peoples, those from poorer socioeconomic backgrounds and rural dwellers, often fare badly. Women and girls from these groups face additional, multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination with respect to their education. For marginalized populations, access to education is often not assured, even if it is free; the right to education of quality is often not recognized; and the quality of education provided is poor, affecting learning outcomes and overall empowerment. This session will discuss strategies to enable all children and adults, regardless of status, to realize their right to education. It will draw on the perspectives of vulnerable and marginalized groups, with a view to outlining a set of recommendations to guide the holistic pursuit of the proposed equity target of SDG4.

Parallel session 6. Expanding the vision: youth and adult literacy within a lifelong learning perspective

Chair: Ms Ann-Therese Ndong-Jatta, Director, UNESCO
Worldwide, some 781 million adults, of whom two-thirds are women, are reported to be unable to read and write. Low literacy skills are a concern globally, including in middle and high income countries; indeed, since 2000, only a quarter of countries have reduced their adult illiteracy rates by 50%. Moreover, in many cases the need for learners to acquire literacy and numeracy proficiency levels that are equivalent to basic education and set the foundation for lifelong learning is not recognized. This session will discuss key strategies to enhance access to quality and innovative literacy learning opportunities, strengthen long-term and dependable investment in literacy, and deepen multistakeholder partnerships and decentralized participatory action through a network of learning cities, communities and families.

Parallel session 7. Educating and learning for peaceful and sustainable societies

Chair: Ms Soo-Hyang Choi, Director, UNESCO
In today’s rapidly changing and interconnected world, learners are required to develop a comprehensive understanding of local, national and global challenges, with skills and attitudes to assume active roles, both locally and globally, to face and to resolve these challenges. To meet this demand, education systems as a whole need to be supported or even re-oriented. The Global Education First Initiative has marked a significant step forward in this direction by considering global citizenship as one of its three priorities, and the UN General Assembly has acknowledged the Global Action Programme on Education for Sustainable Development. Against this background, this session will seek to engage participants in a lively discussion on how global citizenship education and education for sustainable development can be effectively integrated in education systems in order to help improve the relevance of education in our contemporary world and its capacity to contribute to achieving sustainable   development.

Parallel session 8. Teachers for the world we want – agenda for policy, practice and research

Chair: Mr Jorge Sequeira, Director, UNESCO
Realizing the right to quality education means ensuring that every learner is taught by a qualified, motivated and professionally supported teacher. However, education quality is currently undermined by teacher shortages and the inequitable distribution of qualified teachers within and across countries.
It is therefore essential to attract and support the best students to become teachers, while retaining them in the profession with continuous professional development and appropriate working conditions.
In so doing, effective and continuous dialogue among policy-makers, teachers and researchers is critical. This session will engage participants in an interactive discussion addressing: the state-of-theart and trends in teacher education, including heightened expectations on teachers and the multiple challenges they continue to face in and out of the classroom; and key strategies for effective teacher policy reform, including social dialogue.

Parallel session 9. Healthy bodies, bright minds: health, HIV and sexuality education

Chair: Ms Julia Bunting, President, Population Council
Healthy learners learn better, and better educated learners have the knowledge and skills to be healthy. Strengthening the links between these two fundamental domains of human wellbeing is a critical approach to achieving sustainable development. Education serves as a ‘social vaccine’ against infectious disease, such as HIV. Effective life-skills based sexuality education that includes cognitive skills, such as critical thinking and risk assessment; social skills, such as communication; and emotional skills, such as empathy, can help prevent HIV and unintended pregnancy and contribute towards gender equality, economic opportunities and sustainable development, while building on basic skills and capacitating learners to answer the big questions of the day. This session will help delegates to understand the role of sexuality education in improving health and gender equality, and will highlight the interrelationship between health and education and the impact on EFA and the broader SDG agenda, including proposed Goal 3 on Health.

Parallel session 10. Framing and developing indicators to measure progress for the 2030 education targets

Chair: Ms Silvia Montoya, Director, UNESCO Institute for Statistics
This session will present the recommendations of the Technical Advisory Group on Post-2015 Education Indicators, which underscore the urgent need for the education community to address new issues and measurement challenges, especially in relation to education quality and equity, as part of the new development agenda. It will consider strategies for: assessing learning across and within different national contexts, including the need to develop national capacities to develop, implement, analyze and use assessments; identifying indicators to measure progress in reducing inequalities across all of the education targets; and new approaches to collecting more comprehensive data on the different sources and uses of funding for education and training.

16:30-18:00 Plenary Session II

Education drives development

The example of the Republic of Korea Welcoming remarks by Mr Woo-Yea Hwang, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education, the Republic of Korea Presentation by Mr Sun-Geun Baek, President, Korean Educational Development Institute

Chair: Mr Jeffrey Sachs, Special Advisor to United Nations Secretary-General on the Millennium Development Goals
This session discussed the central role of education in national development, focusing on the Republic of Korea’s experience in and through educational development. It reviewed educational strategies and policy options to address current and upcoming challenges.