Let’s prepare education for the future

For The IIEP Letter, Stefania Giannini, Assistant Director-General for Education, UNESCO, writes about how educational planning is key to realizing the targets of Sustainable Development Goal 4 for education.

Preparing for the future is an intrinsic aspect of education. Today’s education planners and teachers need to make education systems ready for the rapidly changing world of tomorrow, while cultivating in learners an appetite for learning that will shape lives forever. Educational planning aims to serve these purposes by ensuring that education systems provide quality, inclusive learning for both present and future generations. This process begins with a careful analysis of available resources and a consensus on how to use them. 

Within UNESCO, the International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP-UNESCO) plays a key role by providing Member States with support to better plan and manage their education systems.

Improved planning and management create stronger education systems with better learning outcomes. Quality, inclusive education delivers a multiplier effect with regard to the environment, social justice, the eradication of poverty, gender equality, and more.

Planning is hence key to realizing the targets of Sustainable Development Goal 4 for education, and all 17 goals of the ambitious 2030 Global Agenda.

However, UNESCO has highlighted a major paradox facing education worldwide. While global statistics show that more people than ever before are benefiting from an education, 263 million young people are still out of school, 617 million are not achieving minimum proficiency levels in writing, reading, and mathematics, and at least 750 million adults are illiterate. In addition, there are large disparities in quality, equity, and learning outcomes within and between countries.

Educational planning can help countries address these inequalities. This is especially true for migrant and refugee children and youth, who are five times more likely to be out of school than others, according to the UN refugee agency, UNHCR. Educational planning that aims to bridge the humanitarian-development divide can bring together the range of actors needed to ensure that migrant, refugee, and displaced children have continuous access to quality education. This is vital not only for their individual well-being, but for society as a whole.

Good educational planning cannot be monolithic. In addition to helping countries define and meet goals, it must build greater flexibility into education systems, making it easier for them to adapt and evolve to meet whatever jobs and skills are required in the future. Planning education systems that are equitable, quality focused, resilient, and responsive to change adds certainty to a successful future of all learners.

Read the rest of The IIEP Letter here!