Discours de la directrice de l'IIPE Suzanne Grant Lewis à la Cérémonie de Clôture 2019

27 Juin 2019


IIEP Director Suzanne Grant Lewis at the closing ceremony on 27 June 2019.

Discours de la directrice de l'IIPE, Suzanne Grant Lewis
Cérémonie de Clôture de la 54ème session du Programme de formation approfondie en planification et gestion de l'éducation de l'IIPE
Jeudi, 27 juin 2019

1.    Excellences, Mesdames et Messieurs les Ambassadeurs des États membres de l’UNESCO
2.    Mesdames et Messieurs les représentants des Délégations permanentes auprès de l’UNESCO
3.    Madame la Sous-Directrice générale pour l’Éducation de l’UNESCO
4.    Honorables invités
5.    Chers participants du programme de formation
6.    Chers collègues
7.    Mesdames et Messieurs

C’est un grand privilège pour moi, en tant que Directrice de l’institut international de planification de l’éducation de l’UNESCO, de vous accueillir à la cérémonie de clôture de la cinquante-quatrième session de notre Programme de formation approfondie en planification et gestion de l’éducation (PFA). Nous célébrons aujourd’hui la fin d’un programme de formation intensif, et nous sommes ici pour féliciter les participants, pour leur travail et pour leur réussite.

Cette cérémonie est un moment de l’année très important pour l’IIPE. Je considère cet évènement comme étant le plus important de l’année, car il rassemble, non seulement les participants du PFA/ et l’équipe enseignante, mais également, toute l’équipe de l’IIPE Paris, les Ambassadeurs et les représentants des Délégations permanentes proches de l’IIPE, ainsi que d’autres partenaires de valeur, notamment la Commission nationale française pour l’UNESCO.  Nous avons également le grand plaisir d’accueillir les familles et amis des participants, avec nous dans la salle, ou grâce à la diffusion en direct de l’évènement, en français et en anglais. Merci aux collègues qui ont rendu cette retransmission possible.

Each year, we use this occasion as an opportunity to reflect. We collectively pause, before participants return home to apply their new skills and knowledge and IIEP staff turn to the next tasks at hand. In this reflection, we strive to connect ourselves to the larger world and all its challenges, and to consider how we can contribute to solving some of the challenges that concern us all.  

That reflection brings to my mind the universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity. This universal call for collective action is the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.

I see a huge challenge for all of us in educational planning and management and that is how to plan and manage an education system for a world increasingly on the move.
Education systems are legendary for being slow to change. Just look at the dominant school model, which dates back to the 19th Century. We also tend to be near-sighted, looking at five to ten years at a time, the length of an education sector plan. This is understandable because we see people disadvantaged today and we work to bring education to bear on the needs of those excluded today. But if we only look within our usual five to ten year planning horizon, we will never be prepared for the changed world. By the time education systems respond to today’s vision of the 2030 world, let alone 2050, the world will have changed.  Today I am urging all of us to take a longer view, to reflect on what we need to do to ensure we have an education system in 2050 that serves a world on the move.

What is the nature of that movement? While 55% of the world’s population now lives in urban settings, that is set to increase to 68% by 2050, with India, China and Nigeria accounting for 35% of this projected growth. And, while urban concentration levels are positively correlated with economic growth in developed countries, they are negatively correlated in developing countries. In these countries, urbanization increases poverty, exacerbates gender disparities and worsens environmental degradation.

We should plan with an expectation of massive migration throughout the world. Beyond the urbanization trend, we have increasing displacement due to disasters, human trafficking, economic migration, and the largely unquantified migration due to slow onset events like desertification and sea level rise. It is undeniable that our planet is transforming at a rate that has exceeded most scientific forecasts. The continued pace of environmental change, and the subsequent migration, depends in part on human action, especially policies for climate change and migration. But my friends, despite the inspiring efforts of people like Greta Thunberg, the Swedish youth who left school to protest climate change, the inaction of governments and the increasing emissions are worrying signs.

According to the International Organization for Migration, there are no reliable estimates of climate change induced migration. Forecasts vary from 25 million to 1 billion environmental migrants by 2050, moving either within their countries or across borders, on a permanent or temporary basis. 200 million is the most widely cited estimate. A 2018 World Bank report argued that climate change could force over 140 million to migrate just within countries, affecting Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and Latin America the most.

As the UN Secretary-General argues, “we were warned” and “leaders must lead. We have the moral and economic incentives to act.” So let us, as educational planners, do what we can do to act. In her Foreword to the 2019 Global Education Monitoring Report, the UNESCO Director-General said, “Investing in the education of those on the move is the difference between laying a path to frustration and unrest, and laying a path to cohesion and peace.”

We are not starting from scratch. There are a number of efforts underway, which will assist us in establishing an education system for people on the move. And, UNESCO is working on many of these.

  1. We made progress in awareness raising: The 2019 Global Education Monitoring Report focused on migration, displacement and education. It helped advance our understanding of the two-way relationship between education and migration and displacement, the current needs and some of the efforts underway to address these needs. But, it did not look to into the medium-term future.
  2. Recognition of qualifications and prior learning is now a major movement. This can ease migrants’ and refugees’ continued education and entry into labor markets, which reduces unemployment and  facilitates smoother and faster transitions so they can contribute in their new country. But today, recognition systems are fragmented. Governments must continue to make progress in harmonizing education standards and quality assurance mechanisms so that academic qualifications are recognized at national, regional and global levels. And, we need to improve processes to support migrants and refugees who cannot prove their academic qualifications, or have skills gained through non-formal and informal channels.
  3. Global agreements are in place to help protect migrants’ and refugees’ right to education. These are the recently finalized Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration and the Global Compact on Refugees.
  4. And, we are learning about numerous educational experiments being tried to better serve children and youth on the move.

What do we as educational planners need to do to plan education systems for a world on the move? First, we must recognize that today’s assumptions about inputs and educational processes no longer hold. We have to rethink how education is provided and how we plan. This entails planning for educational experiences that will not necessarily be residential; projecting a teaching workforce in a system with more diverse delivery modalities; and anticipating continued scarcity of financing for an increasing number of students with a wider range of needs. It entails engaging with governments in utilizing non-educational data, especially climate change models to map projected changes, which may result in internal displacements or emigration. We need to map the global public goods that we, UNESCO IIEP, must develop to help countries prepare for this educational future.

As you, the ATP graduates, look to the future, I urge you to look further into your country’s future. What can you do to promote a vision and to affect action to build an education system that serves the most vulnerable 30 years from now?