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Shaping the Future of Education in Asia-Pacific

Bangkok, 24 May 2012 – Education must adapt to the changing socio-economic developments of tomorrow, high-level experts concluded at a recent conference “Towards Education for All 2015 and Beyond? Shaping a new Vision for Education” held in Bangkok.


More than 50 high-level representatives and experts from research institutions, education ministries, UN, International Organizations and NGOs discussed progress towards Education for All (EFA) and the future of education in Asia and the Pacific. 

“Many countries, now moving towards middle income status, are experiencing new economic and social pressures. At the same time, we are living in an era of rapid technological advancement, demographic shifts, and climate change,” said Gwang-Jo Kim, UNESCO Bangkok Director during the conference. 
 “This has significant implications for education. It means we have a responsibility to equip all people with the requisite knowledge and skills for a changing world. They must be able to adjust to changing economic situations, they must develop technological literacy, they must even adapt to the change of nature itself. Today’s youth are tomorrow’s leaders; they must also be able to implement change,” said Mr Kim.

The meeting identified key messages for the future of education:  

  1.  Achieving Education for All remains an unfinished agenda in the region. Meeting these goals requires strengthened efforts to address persistent disparities between and within countries;
  3.  Education for All is of continued relevance, yet there is need to go beyond these goals. Learning, equity and quality of education, including a focus on teachers and skills development must feature prominently in the future education development agenda;
  5. Broader socio-economic development and challenges must be clearly reflected in discussions on the future of education, and;
  7. There must be both an education-specific development agenda beyond 2015 and explicit reference to education in global agendas, given the fundamental role of education in advancing human development.  

Participants agreed that there is need for a shift towards a broader and more holistic view of education for the future.

“Given the emerging challenges, the post-2015 education agenda should take a broader platform than Education for All. We must see education as linked to other sectors: progress in education leads to advances in other national and international goals, including the MDGs,” said Ms Margarete Sachs-Israel, Education Research and Foresight Programme, UNESCO Bangkok. 

“Today’s complex world has put new and high pressures on education systems. We cannot wait -  it is today that we must act together to ensure that future generations are equipped with the knowledge and skills they need for the future,” said Ms Sachs-Israel.

The meeting provided a platform to forge partnerships and networks with UNESCO in pursuit of a new vision for education. It also identified research and analytical work to be undertaken and developed recommendations on the way forward for a regional post-2015 education agenda. 

The three-day meeting from 9-11 May was hosted by UNESCO’s Asia and Pacific Regional Bureau for Education in Bangkok, with support from the Korean National Commission for UNESCO and UNICEF Regional Offices. 


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