Saturday, November 29, 2008

UNESCO's 48th International Conference on Education

While Americans have been eating turkey and celebrating gratitude, over 100 Education ministers and other stakeholders from all over the world have been meeting in Geneva, Switzerland at the 48th session of the International Conference on Education (ICE). The session began November 25 and ended yesterday, the 28th. The conference is sponsored by UNESCO's International Bureau of Education (IBE). The purpose of the IBE is to assist Member States in achieving quality Education for All through innovative curriculum development and implementation. 

This year's theme is inclusive education, reaching out to marginalized groups such as: HIV/AIDS orphans, those with disabilities, migrants, street children, etc. As these groups are generally excluded from the mainstream school system "Inclusive Education: the Way of the Future" looks to inform the global community on ways to become more open to diversity and effectively reduce drop-out rates.  

The conference 
will include a discussion of more than 70 National Reports on the education systems of different countries as well as comments on inclusion from 143 Ministers. It will also include a screening of the film "The Class" (Entre Les Murs) which documents the difficulties of a Paris teacher in instructing a cross-cultural group of teenage students in order to raise awareness.  

The Keynote was given by Navanethem Pillay, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights detailing his history in working with inclusion as well as affirming that "education is both a human right in itself, as well as an indispensable instrument for achieving many other rights, whether civil, cultural, economic, political, or social."

Education for All includes even those that are hard to reach, out of the main stream, and often forgotten. Education for All means education for all. Thank you UNESCO!

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