COVID-19 has forced big changes in the way lessons are delivered.
But education worldwide needs an even more radical rethink.
Science, technology, engineering and maths are crucial to our future.
COVID-19 has forced more than 1 billion students and youth out of school, triggering the world’s biggest educational technology (edtech) implementation in history, almost overnight. Schools and universities are scrambling to redesign their teaching and learning to allow for students of all ages to study from home. While this raises huge practical and logistic issues for students, teachers and parents (especially women), it opens up a world of opportunities to reimagine what learning looks like in the 21st century.
COVID-19 is casting a long shadow over the futures of young people all around the world.
On World Youth Skills Day, we asked young people their thoughts on redesigning education and skills for the post-COVID era.
For children and young people looking to gain an education and skills, COVID-19 has made a bad situation even worse.
Before the pandemic, they faced a growing mismatch between the skills they were learning in school and those needed for employment.
Now, under the shadow of COVID-19, over one billion are out of school altogether. And millions of young people who were set to join the workforce cannot find jobs.
This moment is an important opportunity to reimagine how, and what, education and skills are delivered to prepare students for a rapidly changing world of work.
But governments and businesses cannot address this problem alone.
So, on World Youth Skills Day, we decided to bring together young people from Algeria, Argentina and South Africa to hear their thoughts about how we can re-design and re-imagine education and skills systems to meet their needs.
The virtual discussion, moderated by Mari-Lisa Njenga, a youth advocate from Kenya, identified four important principles that should guide change.
The COVID-19 global pandemic has made digital tools indispensable. We work, learn, socialize, celebrate, and grieve virtually, and it is access to these technologies that has made it possible for many aspects of life to continue remotely, if in new forms. But the pandemic has also made life online more dangerous as cyberattacks of all stripes surge, as hackers “bomb” Zoom rooms, and as hate speech and misinformation flourish.
COVID-19 has magnified the critical role for digital technologies but also their underlying risks, and in doing so, made it clear that urgent work is needed to ensure that we can realize a future where new technologies can be harnessed to realize good and that we can work together to manage their risks.
Recently, the UN Foundation partnered with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace to host a virtual discussion, featuring Fabrizio Hochschild, special adviser to the UN Secretary-General, on how the United Nations is working with others to help foster a safer and more equitable digital future.
Under-Secretary-General Hochschild explained how the UN Secretary-General’s new Roadmap for Digital Cooperation can help advance a positive digital future. The Roadmap, which was launched last month, builds on the work of the UN’s High-level Panel on Digital Cooperation, led by Melinda Gates and Jack Ma, and which delivered its final report last year. Since then, the UN has been working in partnership with countries, the private sector, civil society, research community, and others to identify how to realize the panel’s recommendations for what they called “the age of digital interdependence.”
The result of these efforts, the Roadmap is a call to:
CONNECT those who are not yet connected;
RESPECT human rights and human agency online; and
PROTECT those who are vulnerable to harms online.
Four points emerged from the wide-ranging discussion…
The UNESCO-UNEVOC International Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training is UNESCO’s only specialized centre for technical and vocational education and training (TVET) and an integral component of UNESCO’s international programme on TVET. Through its capacity development programmes, collaborative projects and global UNEVOC Network, UNESCO-UNEVOC advocates for quality TVET that is accessible for all.
UNESCO-UNEVOC’s Strategy for TVET
The Education 2030 Agenda calls on Member States to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all, with the aim of overcoming challenges posed by rapid technological developments, sustained high levels of youth unemployment, demographic changes and a growing demand for green skills.
In Africa COVID-19 has shifted the cultural context almost beyond recognition. Suddenly previous obstacles to change are surmountable as bigger ones are overcome, and an ethos of urgent action becomes the norm.
Africa’s digital economy has accelerated, particularly with respect to e-commerce, bolstering regional resilience to the health pandemic.
But ongoing challenges will require more unified action on: new financing models, supply chain, trade, infrastructure and inclusive digital transformation.