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IFGE is an member of GCE and we include here their statement made on the occasion of the UN TES Summit in New York (16-19 September)

The Global Campaign for Education (GCE) welcomes the Transforming Education Summit convened by the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres. We appreciate the efforts of the international community to prioritise the discussion about the substantial transformations that education requires to achieve its aims, as established by international human rights law and respond to the challenges of our days.

The GCE agrees with the vision of the UN Secretary General, stating that education is in deep crisis. The Covid-19 pandemic has shown, however, that rather than a learning crisis, education is experiencing a crisis of violence and inequality, the factors that make the crises severe, especially for people and communities that have historically been discriminated against.

The Global Campaign for Education has actively participated in the drafting of the five action tracks that should guide the new political agreements this summit proposes and that can only be achieved through strengthening and expanding civil society movements nationally and internationally.

These agreements must go from rhetoric to practice and be the beacons that guide states towards the urgent transformations the world needs, knowing that reforms are useless and that education should be reset, since an education system that excludes, cannot be the same as includes.

The necessary transformations must recover the holistic sense of education, so that teaching and learning aims to protect human dignity, and not only respond to the market needs. This is only possible if we move education from patriarchal and utilitarian frameworks towards human rights cultures in which people can learn to live together in a peaceful, egalitarian and truly democratic world.

GCE’s contribution focuses on supporting government commitments around the human right to education, including gender equality, justice for people with disabilities, early childhood care and education, adult learning and education, and the growing participation of children, youth and students in education governance.

In particular, the Global Campaign for Education is committed to supporting the transformative finance agenda and calling for a global compact based on this – making sure that the transformative finance agenda (which includes action on tax, debt, austerity and public sector wage bills) frames national and global debates on financing in the coming years.

GCE regrets that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has decided not to participate in the Transforming Education Summit, even though their policies and practices are crucial in impacting the financing of education.

No progress can be achieved without teachers, whose shortage is around 69 million, so the Transforming Education Summit should reach meaningful agreements to provide them with opportunities for continued training and the best working conditions, including teacher’s right to participate in decision-making, especially in emergency situations or humanitarian crises.

Conflict and climate change-related emergencies are leaving millions of internally displaced people, refugees and asylum seekers without the opportunity to enjoy their right to education. For example, the destruction of schools and the murders of teachers and students during armed conflicts and occupation produce such serious consequences that the mere possibility of reorganizing education is itself a huge challenge, so the GCE calls on governments and international community to protect and guarantee the right to education at all times.

The Global Campaign for Education is committed to remain vigilant of these Summit agreements, so that together we can really make transformative education inclusive for all. This implies responding creatively and urgently to climate change, poverty and discrimination, using methods that democratize digital technology as a systemic effort to improve teaching and learning.

We will continue working tirelessly so that States are accountable to their obligations and especially to the commitments made at the Transforming Education Summit and we reaffirm our determination to fight for a world where no one is left behind.