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The Future of Education: A Generation that cares

Bangkok, 21 November 2012 – Overarching tensions described in UNESCO’s Delors report Learning: The Treasure Within remain valid today as they were 16 years ago.

©Thailand, Pusadee Lae




The 16th UNESCO-APEID International Conference being held from 21-23 November 2012 in Bangkok, Thailand is examining these tensions with reference to current context, bringing new insights and perspectives to the dialogue about the future of education in the 21st Century. 

The seven tensions include: the tension between the global and the local; between the universal and the individual; between tradition and modernity; between long-term and short-term considerations; between competition and concern for equality of opportunity; between expansion of knowledge and our capacity to assimilate it; and the tension between the spiritual and the material.

The Delors report, published in 1996, presented a paradigm for education supported by four pillars of learning, which were: Learning to live together; Learning to know, Learning to do; and Learning to be. At the heart of this paradigm is the pillar of learning to live together, which addresses the need for all to learn about other people and their history, cultures, traditions and values, so that everyone can foster mutual understanding, peaceful interchange and harmony.

The Heart of Education: Learning to Live Together is chosen as this year’s conference theme. The objective is to increase understanding and knowledge of the concept of learning in general, and learning to live together in particular.

The Asia and Pacific region is very diverse with many countries, cultures, ethnic groups, religions and languages. With more than 4.2 billion people this region represents about 60 per cent of the world’s population. Inevitably, there are disagreements, tensions and conflicts in an array of political, economic, social and environmental dimensions to this massive pot of humanity. 

“By recognizing our interdependence, as well as the risks and challenges involved, we will be able to develop more effective solutions to manage and minimize conflicts,” said Gwang-Jo Kim, Director of UNESCO Asia and Pacific Regional Bureau for Education. 

“We recognize that this is not an easy task. We face many challenges and obstacles, but that should drive us to work harder to make sure that our education system is going in the right direction.

“There is no question that we have to produce generations of people who are highly capable, skilled, innovative and resourceful. But we strongly believe that our fundamental responsibility – as policy makers, leaders, educators, parents and community members – is to produce people with hearts and people who care,” he said at the opening of the conference.

About 300 participants from 30 countries attended the conference including policy makers, educators, researchers and representatives from the private sector who share their rich experiences in linking theory to practice and examining the broad concepts of learning, linkages between learning and social development, and the policies, tools and resources available. 

“Education has long been the key to sustainable success.  In our region alone, we have seen strong, compelling evidence that investments in education help to lift countries out of poverty and steadily improve basic socio-economic indicators and social welfare,” said Thomas DuCharme, Head of the Treasury and Securities Services in Asia Pacific of J.P. Morgan. 

“And in today’s ever increasingly demanding global economy, it is imperative that we continue to evolve our thinking around education and improve access for the underserved,” he said.

The UNESCO-APEID International Conference provides a forum for policy dialogue and knowledge sharing on education in and beyond the Asia-Pacific region. Since the first conference in 1995, the UNESCO-APEID conferences have become a flagship activity of UNESCO Bangkok. This year, the conference is co-organized with the Ministry of Education in Thailand, the Asian-Pacific Network for International Education and Values, Pearson Thailand and J.P. Morgan.

“Educational attainment is the single most important driver of economic growth. Better education drives invention and innovation, flexibility, and prosperity. Poor education, on the other hand, can lead to stagnation and decline. Everyone involved in global education – governments, donors as well as the private sector – has a part to play in the delivery of universal basic education for all,” said Michelle Lombard, President, Pearson Emerging Markets. 

For journalists please contact Ms. Rojana Manowalailao at UNESCO Bangkok: tel: +66 81 825 2188. 

For more details, visit UNESCO Bangkok’s website at:


UNESCO Bangkok Press Release 2012