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ABOUT IQE

1.   Mission Statement

The mission of the Section for Inclusive Quality Education is to enhance UNESCO Member States’ capacities to provide equitable, inclusive and quality basic education for all in the Asia-Pacific region.

2.  Objectives of the Section

Specific objectives of the Section are as follows:

  • To strengthen sector-wide coherence and relevance of education policies of education systems in the region through the promotion of sector-wide policy formulation, planning and system-wide reform of the education sector with focus on gender equality, inclusion, equity and efficiency. 
  • To promote effective partnerships, collaboration, coordination and synergy amongst key regional actors and stakeholders in order to support the implementation and monitoring of the 2030 education agenda at the country level.
  • To strengthen the capacity of education systems to improve learning outcomes of learners at the basic level of education through support in core components of education such as curriculum, pedagogy, learning environment and assessment.
  • To promote early childhood care, development and education, primary education, lower-secondary and upper-secondary education as integrated components of basic education and lifelong learning under the guiding principle of a rights-based approach to education. 
  • To support countries to enable them to respond to the diverse needs of all learners through integration of the principles and values of inclusion and equity and mainstreaming of gender equality in education policies and practices.
  • To strengthen the links between education, health and well-being so that children can achieve their potential, are healthy and happy, respect the rights of others and can participate fully in society.

 3.  Programmatic Areas

The Section works in the five programmatic areas:

  •  2030 education agenda - APPEAL coordination
  •  Inclusive basic education (early childhood to secondary)
  • Education planning and management
  • Education quality
  • Education for health and well-being

The focus of each programmatic area is provided below.

Under the 2030 Education Agenda and APPEAL Coordination programme, the Section supports the implementation of the SDG 4/Education 2030 targets in the region through coordination, partnership building, capacity development and monitoring. The Section facilitates UNESCO’s global role concerning SDG4/Education 2030 at the regional level through (i) coordination with governments, inter-governmental bodies, international development partners, civil society organizations, the private sector and educational organizations; (ii) monitoring regional progress towards the achievement of the SDG 4/Education 2030 targets from the national monitoring reports; (iii) supporting the implementation of the SDG 4/Education 2030  in the region through advocacy, partnerships building and capacity development. The Section serves as the secretariat of the Education 2030 Thematic Working Group, previously known as EFA Thematic Working Group.

The Inclusive Basic Education programme supports the promotion of inclusive, equitable and quality early childhood care and education and pre-primary education, primary education and secondary education (lower and upper) in the region as a human right. The programme aims to contribute to the achievement of SDG 4 target 4.1 and 4.2 by Member States in the region. Specifically, the programme (i) supports the development of evidence-based, holistic policies and provisions for quality early childhood care and education integrating child protection, health, nutrition and education programmes for young children; (ii) works towards the expansion of universal access to pre-primary, primary and secondary education, with special attention to marginalized populations, ensuring relevant and effective learning processes and outcomes; (iii) promotes ‘inclusive education’ as the main pillar of education policies and programmes, curricula, learning materials teacher education systems and teaching learning approaches; (iv) promotes mother tongue-based multilingual education (MTB-MLE) to improve ethno-linguistic children’s learning achievement; and (v) supports the mainstreaming of gender equality principles in national education policies, planning, budgeting, curriculum materials and pedagogy.  

The Education Planning and Management programme facilitates the promotion of evidence-based policy formulation, results-based management and system-wide reform of the education sector in support of Education 2030 and assists Member States in capacity development in education policy development, planning and implementation, including at the local level. The programme (i) supports analytical work on overarching and/or cross-cutting issues involving overall policy framework, governance, financing and system performance; (ii) develops and disseminates policy analysis and management tools to help address the need of education planners and managers for system coherence, policy implementation and support for quality learning; (iii) undertakes documentation and synthesis of country experiences to facilitate cross-country comparison and to trigger policy discussions; (iv) strengthens information platform for policy makers and practitioners in the region (such as the National Education Systems and Policies in Asia-Pacific (NESPAP), including the online Country Education System Profiles), so as to document experiences, disseminate practices and facilitate regional discussion vis-à-vis system-wide reform of the education sector; (v) supports the work of Member States in system-wide policy reforms by providing on-site and/or distance-based policy advice, technical assistance and capacity development support.

The Quality of Education programme works on quality issues at all levels of education, but with particular focus on basic education, including early childhood education and upper secondary and improving learning outcomes of students at this level as envisioned in SDG4/Education 2030. It aims to improve the quality of learning by enhancing the use of use of student learning assessments to strengthen education systems, primarily through the NEQMAP network. It also aims to improve learning in areas which are not measured in traditional assessment frameworks, such as learning to live together. Additional areas of focus include the promotion of learner well-being through the Happy Schools Project and gender and STEM. Specifically, the programme (i) works on the various dimensions of the crucial challenge of quality of education and disparities in learning outcomes, including aspects of curriculum, pedagogy and assessment; (ii) promotes analytical work, knowledge sharing/advocacy/policy dialogue and both in-country and comparative policy review and support on issues of quality; and (iii) organizes training activities to support Ministries of Education and relevant institutions, especially those in low and middle-income countries, in order to strengthen their capacity to establish solid assessment systems and to use the results of assessment to improve education policy and student learning. 

The Education for health and well-being programme supports the links between education, health and well-being, consistent with international commitments set out in the 1986 Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion, the 1990 Jomtien World Declaration on Education For All, the 2000 Dakar World Education Forum Framework for Action and, more recently, the 2015 Incheon Declaration, Education 2030. The programme has a strong focus on human rights, gender-transformative programming that advances gender equality and respect for diversity, and young people’s participation in programme development and implementation. Specifically, the programme supports Member States to (i) increase access to good quality comprehensive sexuality education that promotes positive values including respect for human rights, gender equality and diversity and develops attitudes and skills that contribute to safe, healthy, positive relationships; (ii) make schools safe and inclusive by eliminating school-related gender-based violence, preventing discrimination towards learners and educators and promoting safe and inclusive learning environments; and (iii) establish and implement laws and policies that protect the rights of all learners and prevent discrimination in education, and other laws that enable young people to access sexual and reproductive health and HIV information and services.