Tag Archives: Students

Secretary-General António Guterres video message to launch the policy brief on ‘Education and Covid-19′

Education is the key to personal development and the future of societies.

It unlocks opportunities and narrows inequalities.

It is the bedrock of informed, tolerant societies, and a primary driver of sustainable development.

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to the largest disruption of education ever.

In mid-July, schools were closed in more than 160 countries, affecting over 1 billion students.

At least 40 million children worldwide have missed out on education in their critical pre-school year.

And parents, especially women, have been forced to assume heavy care burdens in the home.

Despite the delivery of lessons by radio, television and online, and the best efforts of teachers and parents, many students remain out of reach.

Learners with disabilities, those in minority or disadvantaged communities, displaced and refugee students and those in remote areas are at highest risk of being left behind.

And even for those who can access distance learning, success depends on their living conditions, including the fair distribution of domestic duties.

We already faced a learning crisis before the pandemic.

More than 250 million school-age children were out of school.

And only a quarter of secondary school children in developing countries were leaving school with basic skills.

Now we face a generational catastrophe that could waste untold human potential, undermine decades of progress, and exacerbate entrenched inequalities.

The knock-on effects on child nutrition, child marriage and gender equality, among others, are deeply concerning.

This is the backdrop to the Policy Brief I am launching today, together with a new campaign with education partners and United Nations agencies called ‘Save our Future’.

We are at a defining moment for the world’s children and young people.

The decisions that governments and partners take now will have lasting impact on hundreds of millions of young people, and on the development prospects of countries for decades to come.

This Policy Brief calls for action in four key areas:

First, reopening schools.

Once local transmission of COVID-19 is under control, getting students back into schools and learning institutions as safely as possible must be a top priority.

We have issued guidance to help governments in this complex endeavour.

It will be essential to balance health risks against risks to children’s education and protection, and to factor in the impact on women’s labour force participation.

Consultation with parents, carers, teachers and young people is fundamental.

Second, prioritizing education in financing decisions.

Before the crisis hit, low and middle-income countries already faced an education funding gap of $1.5 trillion dollars a year.

This gap has now grown.

Education budgets need to be protected and increased.

And it is critical that education is at the heart of international solidarity efforts, from debt management and stimulus packages to global humanitarian appeals and official development assistance.

Third, targeting the hardest to reach.

Education initiatives must seek to reach those at greatest risk of being left behind — people in emergencies and crises; minority groups of all kinds; displaced people and those with disabilities.

They should be sensitive to the specific challenges faced by girls, boys, women and men, and should urgently seek to bridge the digital divide.

Fourth, the future of education is here.

We have a generational opportunity to reimagine education.

We can take a leap towards forward-looking systems that deliver quality education for all as a springboard for the Sustainable Development Goals.

To achieve this, we need investment in digital literacy and infrastructure, an evolution towards learning how to learn, a rejuvenation of life-long learning and strengthened links between formal and non-formal education.

And we need to draw on flexible delivery methods, digital technologies and modernized curricula while ensuring sustained support for teachers and communities.

As the world faces unsustainable levels of inequality, we need education – the great equalizer – more than ever.

We must take bold steps now, to create inclusive, resilient, quality education systems fit for the future.

UNIC Lusaka promotes better understanding SDGs among pupils

By Shiho Kuwahara, University Volunteer, UNIC Lusaka

In continued efforts to create awareness about the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Shiho (middle) presenting the SDGs to students.

Shiho Kuwahara (middle) presenting the SDGs to students.

among children and youth, UNIC Lusaka conducted educational outreach activities in three Lusaka-based schools (North Park, Great North Road Academy and Rhodes Park) from 12-14 February 2019. More than 200 eleventh and twelfth grade pupils participated in the activities.

The presentations focused on how pupils can contribute to the goals at their ages in their attainment. As an introduction, there was a short video of the background of SGDs to let them know about its history. Presenters explained each SDG and needed actions to achieve the goals with actual examples which are familiar with children’s daily life. Pupils were eager to learn about it and participated actively in all the sessions through questions and contributions.  A crucial point that all the goals are important and interlinked was made and that there, therefore, need to make progress on all of them in order to have sustainable development.

As part of the sessions, a lively quiz was given to assess the knowledge levels of the pupils. The pupils deepened their understanding of SDGs.

“Is it really possible to achieve these goals by 2030,”? asked one pupil and Rhodes Park School. It was later emphasized that progress on the SDGs depends on efforts and cooperation by everyone including governments and individuals.

The SDGs were adopted by the 193 UN Member States, including Zambia, at the Sustainable

Shiho Kuwahara, shares a light moment with students at Great North Road Academy.

Shiho, shares a light moment with students at Great North Road Academy.

Development Summit in New York in 2015. The 17 goals focus on the three interconnected elements of sustainable development: economic growth, social inclusion and environmental protection with the aim to make a better world by the year 2030. The first step to achieve the goals is to know about them, especially for youth because they are the future leaders. UNIC Lusaka will continue to work with UN agencies in Zambia to create awareness about the SDGs and encourage people to act for the Global Goals.