Education International
Education International

UNESCO report rethinks education for the 21st Century

published 4 November 2015 updated 13 November 2015

Rethinking Education provides a blueprint of the type of education needed for the 21st century, with a focus on respect for life and human dignity, social justice, and a shared responsibility for a sustainable future.

Rethinking Education, launched internationally on 4 November at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, France, is a reflection of the times. Inspired by the 1996 publication, Learning: The treasure within, also known as the ‘Delors report’, Rethinking Education is drawn from its four pillars of education: learning to know; learning to do; learning to live together, learning to live with others; and learning to be.

The publication, which includes contributions from Education International (EI), zeros in on sustainable development, reaffirms a humanistic approach to education, and centres on education and knowledge as global common goods.

“I am convinced we need to think big again today about education”, “for these are turbulent times”, stresses the UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova in the report’s foreword. “The world is changing – education must also change”.

She also notes that societies everywhere are undergoing deep societal transformation, calling for new forms of education to foster the competencies that societies and economies need, today and tomorrow. A quality basic education is the necessary foundation for learning throughout life in a complex and rapidly changing world, she adds, acknowledging that access is not enough.

“We need a new focus on the quality of education and the relevance of learning, on what children, youth and adults are actually learning. We need an ever stronger focus on teachers and educators as change agents across the board.”

Viewing education as “an essential common good” and “key to the global integrated framework of sustainable development goals”, Bokova insists that there is “no more powerful transformative force than education” to promote human rights and dignity, eradicate poverty and deepen sustainability, build a better future for all, founded on equal rights and social justice, respect for cultural diversity, and international solidarity and shared responsibility.

In light if this report, and with the Sustainable Development Goals, including a standalone education goal, teacher unions the world over are advocating to ensure that governments keep their promises.

Read Rethinking Education here