“Education Can Save the Future” 

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Jun 29, 2020
by Qatar Foundation
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“Education Can Save the Future” 

Stefania Giannini, Assistant Director-General for Education, UNESCO speaks at Salzburg Global-WISE program on Education Disrupted, Education Reimagined

A version of this article was originally published on the Qatar Foundation website

A United Nations leader has described the world as being at a turning point where society has a unique opportunity to decide what kind of education will strengthen global inclusion, resilience, and peace, while speaking at an international online conference organized by Salzburg Global Seminar and Qatar Foundation’s education think-tank, WISE.

During Education Disrupted, Education Reimagined Part II – a three-day virtual gathering addressing the impact of COVID-19 and the future of education systems around the world – Stefania Giannini, Assistant Director-General for Education, UNESCO, focused on the importance of building a better future through learning.

The crisis caused by the pandemic, she said, has exposed the consequences “of digital inequality that deprived millions from learning, of gender inequality that exposed girls – more than boys – to violence, of social inequalities that left the poorest behind, and geographical inequity.”

According to UNESCO, approximately 500 million children and learners do not have access to education, partly due to lack of connectivity. And, according to a recent survey, 60% of teachers in 60 countries lack the digital skills to facilitate online platform learning.

Building back better

Giannini asked participants to consider what “building back better” after COVID-19 means, saying: “The global pandemic will not be defeated by health measures alone. Public health and public education are interconnected; they are two main pillars for a better society. We cannot allow them to be set in opposition.

“Secondly, the crisis has revealed the importance of digital connectivity and online platforms. Governments are already planning for the future along the lines of hybrid learning solutions and models that can combine traditional face-to-face learning and teaching with new technologies.

“These require not only the appropriate infrastructure, but access to digitalized curricular, digitalized training, and measure to protect privacies. This is why education needs more resources, not less than before.

“And let’s recognize that the center of an educational process is the human relationship, between a student and a teacher. The education systems best prepared to respond to crises will be those that are capable of valuing their teachers, granting them more freedom and autonomy, and giving them the conditions to work collaboratively.”

Giannini concluded by saying: “Education can save the future, and empower every child and young person, for a more resilient, inclusive, and sustainable world.

“We need everyone on board to steer the future in the right course. We need political leadership, we need an unprecedented commitment to this mission. Public education, common good, and global solidarity – these commitments should be our compass for recovery.”


The program Education Disrupted, Education Reimagined: Part II is being held in partnership with WISE, an initiative of Qatar Foundation. For more information or to watch sessions in full, please visit: www.wise-qatar.org