United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres is concerned over a worsening ‘global learning crisis’ linked to school closures amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The closures have disrupted the lives of millions of students, and the UN Chief has issued a call to action.
“Unless we take action, the share of children leaving school in developing countries who are unable to read could increase from 53 to 70 per cent”, Guterres warned in a video message marking the International Day of Education on Monday.
The UN chief remembered the “chaos” that COVID-19 caused in education worldwide, noting that some 1.6 billion school and college students had their studies interrupted at the pandemic’s peak.
Guterres asserted that the world is changing at a dizzying pace, with technological innovation, unprecedented changes in the world of work, the onset of the climate emergency, and a widespread loss of trust between people and institutions.
As a result, he believes conventional education systems struggle to deliver the knowledge, skills, and values needed to create a greener, better, and safer future.
And because of these challenges, he is convening a Summit on Transforming Education in September.
“The time has come to reignite our collective commitment to education,” he said.
Guterres said that means putting education at the heart of broader recovery efforts to transform economies and societies and accelerate progress on sustainable development.
He indicated that it also means financial solidarity with developing countries and understanding how to reform national education systems between now and 2030.
Guterres noted the Summit would be the first time that world leaders, young people, and all education stakeholders come together to consider these fundamental questions.