Education is Major Programme 1 UNESCO programmes.
Generally, the sector has three 3 basic roles: Coordination; Consultation and Liaising. The respective roles are grounded in execution of various UNESCO programmes within education Sector as revealed below.
1. EARLY CHILDHOOD CARE AND EDUCATION
UNESCO’s approach is reinforced in the Education 2030 agenda and in particular in target 4.2 of Sustainable Development Goal 4 which aims to ‘By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys have access to quality early childhood development, care and pre-primary education so that they are ready for primary education.’
In this regard, the Sector focuses on UNESCO’s ECCE activities about promoting holistic and quality pre-primary education for all children over the age of 3, ensuring the use of developmentally appropriate pedagogies and emphasizing the linkages with primary education as well as early childhood health, nutrition and social services.
2. EDUCATION ABOUT THE HOLOCAUST AND GENOCIDE
Education about the Holocaust and genocide is part of the UNESCOs efforts to promote Global Citizenship Education (GCED), a priority of the Education 2030 Agenda. In this context, the sector advocates UNESCO role to support education stakeholders in their efforts to help learners become critical thinkers, responsible and active global citizens who value human dignity and respect for all, reject anti-Semitism, racism and other forms of prejudice that can lead to violence and genocide.
3. EDUCATION AND GENDER EQUALITY
The sector has a role of fostering UNESCO intention to our country of developing education systems that foster high quality and inclusive lifelong learning for all. UNESCO is committed to promoting gender equality in and through education systems from early childhood to higher education, in formal, non-formal and informal settings and in all intervention areas from planning infrastructure to training teachers.
4. EDUCATION FOR HEALTH AND WELL-BEING
The sector advocates UNESCO’s goal is to support the contribution of national education sectors to ending AIDS and promoting better health and well-being for all children and young people. The Organization is committed to strengthening the links between education and health, reflecting growing international recognition that a more comprehensive approach to school health and coordinated action across sectors is HIV and Sexuality Education. Comprehensive sexuality education, of which HIV is a core component, is central to:
Preventing HIV and other sexually transmitted infections
Promoting awareness of HIV testing, knowing one’s status, and treatment
Strengthening puberty education
Preventing early and unintended pregnancy
Developing attitudes, values and skills for health and respectful relationships
Promoting gender equality
5. EDUCATION FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
UNESCO supports countries to develop and expand educational activities that focus on sustainability issues such as climate change, biodiversity, disaster risk reduction, water, cultural diversity, sustainable urbanization and sustainable lifestyles through ESD . It advises policy-makers on how to integrate ESD into education policies, curricula and teacher training. Empowering learners to live responsibly and to address complex global challenges means that education has to promote critical thinking, imagine future scenarios and make decisions in collaborative ways
6. EDUCATION IN EMERGENCIES
UNESCO helps to strengthen the capacities of its Member States to provide access to quality educational opportunities for all in times of crisis. Data show that access to learning opportunities during crises is both life-saving and life-sustaining, and yet education is consistently the most under-funded sector in humanitarian response.
7. EDUCATION POLICY AND PLANNING
UNESCO supports national education authorities in developing robust and coherent education policies and strategies and in managing their effective implementation all within the context of Sustainable Development Goal 4, which aims to ‘to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all’.
8. GLOBAL CITIZENSHIP EDUCATION
UNESCO’s work in this field is guided by the Education 2030 Agenda and Framework for Action, notably Target 4.7 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 4 on Education), which calls on countries to “ensure that all learners are provided with the knowledge and skills to promote sustainable development, including, among others, through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development”.
UNESCO works by supporting Member States in their efforts to implement GCED. This includes raising awareness on GCED, advocating for its implementation, and developing guidance and capacity-building tools.
9. GLOBAL EDUCATION MONITORING REPORT
The Global Education Monitoring Report (the GEM Report, formerly known as the Education for All Global Monitoring Report) is an editorially independent, authoritative and evidence-based annual report published by UNESCO. Its mandate is to monitor progress towards the education targets in the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) framework. The substance of the GEM Report is developed and its quality assured by an experienced team under the leadership of the GEM Report Director.
The report’s findings are also shared during ministerial meetings, international academic conferences, training courses for education practitioners and in seminars involving governments, donors, NGOs, researchers and teachers. They are also disseminated through the media and social networks.
10. HIGHER EDUCATION
With a focus on developing countries, notably in Africa, UNESCO supports national efforts to build inclusion and fairer and more sustainable development. Increasing globalization has given higher education a new dimension. Its action contributes to achieving the Education 2030 Agenda and in particular target 4.3 of Sustainable Development Goal 4 for education.
11. ICT IN EDUCATION
Information and Communication Technology (ICT) can complement, enrich and transform education for the better. UNESCO shares knowledge about the many ways technology can facilitate universal access to education, bridge learning divides, support the development of teachers, enhance the quality and relevance of learning, strengthen inclusion, and improve education administration and governance.
12. INCLUSION IN EDUCATION
Ensuring that each individual has an equal opportunity for educational progress remains a challenge worldwide. Sustainable Development Goal 4 on Education and the Education 2030 Framework for Action emphasize inclusion and equity as laying the foundations for quality education.
UNESCO supports Member States to ensure that education policies, programmes and practices promote the development of inclusive education systems, from early childhood onwards. This includes overcome barriers that limit the presence, participation and achievement of all learners. Particular attention is given to those learners who may be at risk of underachievement, marginalization or exclusion.
13. LEADING EDUCATION 2030
Through the Incheon Declaration adopted at the World Education Forum in May 2015, UNESCO, as the United Nations’ specialized agency for education, was entrusted to lead and coordinate the Education 2030 agenda with its partners. The roadmap to achieve the ten targets of the education goal is the Education 2030 Framework for Action, adopted in November 2015, which provides guidance to governments and partners on how to turn commitments into action.
The Global Education 2030 Agenda new expanded scope:
reaches from early childhood learning to youth and adult education and training;
emphasizes the acquisition of skills for work;
underlines the importance of citizenship education in a plural and interdependent world;
focuses on inclusion, equity and gender equality; and
aims to ensure quality learning outcomes for all, throughout their lives.
To advance literacy as an integral part of lifelong learning and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (link is external), UNESCO takes the following approaches to promote literacy worldwide, with an emphasis on youth and adults.
Building strong foundations through early childhood care and education
Providing quality basic education for all children
Scaling-up functional literacy levels for youth and adults who lack basic literacy skills
Developing literate environments
15. RIGHT TO EDUCATION
The UNESCO Convention against Discrimination in Education occupies the foremost place among UNESCO standard-setting instruments in the field of education. It is the first international instrument which covers the right to education extensively and has a binding force in international law. It is recognized as a cornerstone of Education 2030 Agenda and represents a powerful tool to advance SDG4.
16. SCHOOL VIOLENCE AND BULLYING
To ensure safe and inclusive learning environments for all children and adolescents, UNESCO advocates a comprehensive school health approach that encompasses policy and systems, skills-based health education, safe learning environments and links to health services.
The education sectors must adopt and implement measures to prevent and address violence and discrimination, both because of their impact on education, health and well-being, and because they stop children and young people from achieving their potential.
17. EDUCATION FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
The TVET Strategy for 2016 – 2021 has three priority areas:
- Fostering youth employment and entrepreneurship
- Promoting equity and gender equality
- Facilitating the transition to green economies and sustainable societies
UNESCO has made the supply of well-trained, supported and qualified teachers one of its top priorities. This focus has been reinforced by Sustainable Development Goal 4: Quality Education through the Education 2030 Framework for Action, which has a target calling for a substantial increase in qualified teachers through the betterment of their training, recruitment, retention, status, working conditions and motivation (target 4.c).
UNESCO hosts the International Task Force on Teachers for Education 2030 and they work together to address the “teacher gap” as well as tackle the issues raised in target 4.c and in the Incheon Declaration, which specifically calls for Member States to “ensure that teachers and educators are empowered, adequately recruited, well-trained, professionally qualified, motivated and supported within well-resourced, efficient and effectively governed systems”.
19. THE CAPACITY DEVELOPMENT FOR EDUCATION PROGRAMME (CAPED)
UNESCO places developing capacity at the heart of its operational action at country level. In education, this is delivered primarily through its Capacity Development for Education Programme (CapED).
Created in 2003 as the Capacity Development for Education for All (CapEFA) Programme, the Programme was modified in 2016 to better align with the SDG4-Education 2030 agenda and rebranded as Capacity Development for Education. Building on 14 years of experience and achievement, it aims to translate dialogue and advocacy for the global education agenda into concrete action at country level to offer quality education opportunities for all in line with SDG4 targets.
Through CapED, UNESCO provides targeted assistance and reinforces national capacities to undertake evidence-based national education reforms. CapED’s focus is on Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and those countries considered furthest away from achieving the SDG4 targets.
20. UNESCO NETWORKS
A. UNESCO Associated Schools Network
ASP-Net uses three complementary approaches:
Creating: As a laboratory of ideas, ASP-Net develops, tests and disseminates innovative educational materials and promotes new teaching and learning approaches based on UNESCO’s core values and priorities.
Teaching & Learning: Capacity-building, innovative teaching and participative learning in specific ASP-Net thematic areas allow school principals, teachers, students and the wider school community to integrate UNESCO’s values and become role models in their community and beyond.
Interacting: ASP-Net gives its stakeholders opportunities to connect and exchange experiences, knowledge and good practices with schools, individuals, communities, policy-makers and society as a whole.
B. UNESCO-UNEVOC Network
The UNEVOC Network is an exclusive global platform for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) with the aim to further mainstream South-South and North-South-South cooperation. The UNEVOC Network, coordinated by the UNESCO-UNEVOC International Centre, is made up of UNEVOC Centres, which are established in TVET institutions and serve as focal points in the provision of services and platforms for international and regional cooperation in TVET. The Network is instrumental in the production and dissemination of research, case studies, databases, publications, and enables the UNESCO-UNEVOC International Centre to perform its function as a clearinghouse.
Through the Network, UNEVOC Centres can share knowledge and experiences related to all aspects of TVET, exchange country experiences and discuss issues of common relevance in meetings organized by themselves, by the UNESCO-UNEVOC International Centre or virtually through the UNEVOC Network Portal or the UNEVOC TVeT-Forum.
C. UNITWIN / UNESCO Chairs Programme
Through this network, higher education and research institutions all over the globe pool their resources, both human and material, to address pressing challenges and contribute to the development of their societies. In many instances, the networks and chairs serve as think-tanks and bridge-builders between academia, civil society, local communities, research and policy-making. They have proven useful in informing policy decisions, establishing new teaching initiatives, generating innovation through research and contributing to the enrichment of existing university programmes while promoting cultural diversity. In areas lacking expertise, chairs and networks have evolved into poles of excellence and innovation at regional or sub-regional levels. They also contribute to strengthening North-South-South cooperation
21. UNESCO PRIZES
The sector also coordinates the following UNESCO related prizes:
UNESCO International Literacy Prizes
UNESCO-Japan Prize on education for sustainable development
UNESCO Prize for girls’ and women’s education
UNESCO-Hamdan Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum Prize for outstanding practice and performance in enhancing the effectiveness of teachers
UNESCO King Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa Prize for the use of information and communication technologies in education