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SG/SM/21016

Today’s Education Systems No Longer Fit for Purpose, Says Secretary-General in Message for Launch of UNESCO’s ‘Reimagining our Futures Together’ Report

Following is the text of UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ video message for the launch of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) report “Reimagining our Futures Together: A New Social Contract for Education”, held today:

Excellencies, distinguished delegates,

Education is the foundation for inclusive societies.  It shapes the minds of people across the world as they fulfil their aspirations — both individual and collective.  It is key to resolving many of the global and local challenges we face.  We cannot heal a damaged planet, narrow huge inequalities, secure the rights of women and girls, strengthen trust or build peace, without a strong commitment to education.

But, today, education is in turmoil.  The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated a pre-existing global learning crisis.  We are moving further away from the education and life-long learning systems we need, as set out in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  In the face of profound social, political, economic, environmental and technological change, there is a growing consensus that today’s education systems are no longer fit for purpose.

The time has come for transformative action on education.  With this report, “Reimagining our Futures Together”, UNESCO has given us a vision of education that ensures justice, human rights and opportunities for all.  A vision that enables every person to live a life of purpose — and contribute to our collective well‑being and our shared home.  A vision that will allow us to better respond to emerging challenges, and better address the interests of future generations.

I thank the International Commission on the Futures of Education and its Chair, Her Excellency Sahle-Work Zewde, for their efforts.  This report is a vital point of reference for the Transforming Education Summit that I will convene in September 2022.  In the coming weeks, I will appoint a Special Coordinator to lay the groundwork for the Summit, working closely with Member States, young people and education partners.  I count on the leadership of UNESCO and the capacities of the United Nations system and our education partners.

Today’s report is an important benchmark, and a launching pad.  I look forward to working with you to build on the report’s findings, and to make the 2022 Transforming Education Summit a success, so that quality education is a reality for all by 2030.

For information media. Not an official record.