Doha, 22 October 2020 – Today, Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of Education Above All (EAA) Foundation and UN Sustainable Development Goals Advocate, addressed an extraordinary session of the 2020 Global Education Meeting, calling for cross-sector collaboration to ensure equity in digital learning for children across the globe, especially those marginalised.
The extraordinary session focused on education post-COVID-19, and was co-hosted by UNESCO and the Governments of Ghana, Norway, and the United Kingdom.
Highlighting the urgent necessity of digital connectivity in education to counter the unjust digital divide, Her Highness said: “We must rise to the challenge and democratise digital learning, humanise technology and customise curriculum. We must unite across different sectors to make digital learning an inclusive right for the most marginalised children and youth across the globe.”
“We also cannot return to the traditional mode of education, measured by the quantity of knowledge ‘deposited’ into the minds of students. We need to develop technologies that support personalized learning, so learners can proceed at their own pace and educators can adapt to learners’ specific needs and circumstances, without disruption.”
In response to the unprecedented global social and economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the extraordinary session brought together the expertise of the UN and education partners to agree on a set of global priority actions to be put in place by the end of 2021 for the recovery and strengthening of education systems worldwide.
Her Highness noted that COVID-19 has shown how creative the human mind can be when it is faced with existential challenges that are inspiring education solutions across the globe, calling for companies to invest in these ideas. “I ask tech companies to step up and contribute to closing the digital gap by directing their efforts to scale up these innovative, grassroots solutions. Collaboration across sectors and innovation is the only way forward. Let us seize this moment to build a new future – a future that leaves no one without access to digital learning behind.”
Recent studies show the alarming impact of COVID-19 on education budgets, as well as strong evidence that early and sustained investment in education will reduce long-term costs for achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 on education and increase both social and private returns to achieving other SDGs.
Today’s high-level event featured speeches from Nana Akufo-Addo, the President of the Republic of Ghana; Erna Solberg, Prime Minister of Norway; António Guterres, United Nations Secretary-General; Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO Director-General; Baroness Sugg, UK Minister for Foreign Affairs and Development; Stefania Giannini, Assistant Director-General for Education, UNESCO; Jayathma Wickramanayake, UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, among others.