*Former UK premier addresses online forum organised by WISE
Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has highlighted the road ahead for equal opportunities in global education scenario with the motto ‘Every child goes to school’, while speaking at an online forum organised by World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE).
“I still harbour the aspiration that instead of developing some of the potentials of some of our young people, we will soon be in a world where we will be developing all the potentials of all of our young people,” stated Brown, UN special envoy for Global Education, and commission chair, The Education Commission, the UK.
The second part of ‘Education Disrupted, Education Reimagined’ series was organised on Tuesday in collaboration with Salzburg Global Seminar and HolonIQ.
“Just like the health emergency due to Covid-19, we also have an education emergency that will have a long lasting impact unless we do something about it urgently. The life chances of millions and millions of young people are down the road,” Brown cautioned.
According to the UN envoy, there are about 50mn children displaced and many of them due to the pandemic. “From experience we know that in such scenarios, child labour becomes more common because children don’t go back to school. In 2005, an earth quake in Pakistan made many of the affected children lose a year and a half in education although schools were closed only for 14 weeks,” he pointed out.
Brown, highlighting World Bank figures said that education will lose about $150bn a year in low and middle income countries. He suggested three major steps that the international community can do to help sustain education in several of the poor countries.
“The international community and organisations such as IMF and World Bank need to make efforts to deliver more money for education to the poorest countries and make sure that they are used for education alone.
“ Establish a support network in the poor and low income countries for students especially for girls so that they are not forced into child marriage or child labour. The network also can provide emotional support for the students and help the families make their children go to school.
“Incorporate more and more technology into classrooms. The school classroom has been unchanged for the last two centuries while all other facilities around the schools have changed. Technology is available only to some. We have seen the power of technology and it can be incorporated into teaching which can enhance the power, stature and the capacity of the teacher.”
Brown noted that education generates better employment for the youth, education provides better health as an educated mother is able to take care of her children better and improve the quality of life.
He also said that the time has come to act quickly. "We have got to bear in mind that a human tragedy is unfolding, if we do nothing and leave education underfunded without the resources that are necessary for children to flourish in the future. We have to do it by cooperation. We can all come together for the power of education that can unlock not only the individual potential but gain the sustainable development goals. We can make a difference through the efforts of organisations such as WISE and others in this regard,” he pointed out.
“You can survive 40 days without food, eight days without water and eight minutes without air but you can’t survive a second without hope. Hope dies when people feel that they don’t have the chance to plan and prepare for the future; can’t dream of something in the future. And this hope can die unless we take the action necessary. We can find better ways to cooperate and we can build the education future that all of us dream about. And every child in the world deserves it,” Brown added.
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