On 11 December 2016, the UNESCO Tehran Cluster Office, the UNICEF Country Office in Iran, the Iranian National Commission for UNESCO co-organized the national launch of the 2016 Global Education Monitoring or GEM Report, with the theme Education for people and planet: Creating sustainable futures for all. The event was hosted by the Shahid Rajaee Teacher Training University in Tehran.
The national launch was attended by policy makers and decision makers from the Ministry of Education and the Literacy Movement Organization, as well as representatives from UN agencies, international organizations, civil society, academia and the private sector.
The launch event was formally opened by Dr. Ali Zarafshan, Vice-Minister for Secondary Education of the Ministry of Education, who highlighted the key findings of the report relevant to the Islamic Republic of Iran. Dr. Zarafshan also commended UNESCO and its partners for organizing a training workshop on Education statistics the previous week which sought to build the capacity of the country in monitoring and reporting its progress against SDG 4.
Dr. Sadollah Nasiri Gheydari, Secretary-General of the Iranian National Commission for UNESCO, stressed the importance of monitoring and evaluation in achieving SDG4 and its targets and urged the Islamic Republic of Iran to place particular focus on this key aspect of the SDG4 – Education 2030 agenda. Dr. Nasiri explained that the 2016 GEM Report is published annually by UNESCO to help Member States gauge their performance in meeting their commitments to provide inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong opportunities for all.
“The 2016 GEM Report shows that education has huge potential to achieve progress towards all the global development goals, but needs a major rethink if it is to live up to those expectations,” said Ms. Mary Anne Therese Manuson, Education Consultant of UNESCO Tehran, delivering opening remarks on behalf of Director Ms. Esther Kuisch Laroche. “For starters, the world needs an urgent break with past trends to avoid the world being half a century late in achieving its global education commitments. But education systems also need a rethink. They must look to do more than just transfer knowledge; they must ensure they give people vital skills and knowledge that can support the transition to greener industries, and find new solutions for environmental problems”.
In her remarks, Ms. Christine Weigand, Deputy Representative of the UNICEF Country Office in Iran, highlighted the plight of out-of-school children in the country and shared some of the recommendations developed by UNICEF to promote their inclusion in the education system. Ms. Weigand reiterated UNICEF’s commitment to support the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran in its efforts to reach its national priorities in providing inclusive quality education to all children.
Dr. Saeed Olyaee, Vice-President for Research and Technology of the Shahid Rajaee Teacher Training University (SRTTU), warmly welcomed all participants to their university and presented a short video documenting SRTTU’s strong partnership with UNESCO Tehran and the Iranian National Commission for UNESCO.
The 2016 GEM Report is the first report in a newly mandated fifteen-year series. Formerly known as the Education for All Global Monitoring Report (GMR), the GEM Report is an editorially independent, authoritative, and evidence-based annual report, published by UNESCO. Drawing on a well-tested model and twelve reports produced since 2002, the GEM Report has a new mandate to monitor progress towards SDG4 on inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong learning, its 10 detailed targets, as well as other SDG targets with a clear education dimension.
As part of the launch event, a short workshop was conducted by Ms. Maki Hayashikawa, Chief of the Section for Inclusive Quality Education of UNESCO Bangkok and Asia-Pacific Regional Coordinator of SDG4 – Education 2030 to introduce the new Education goal, the vision on which it is based, and the Education 2030 Framework for Action that serves as guidance for its implementation.
Ms. Hayashikawa also provided a regional overview of SDG4 implementation in the Asia-Pacific and discussed what type of technical support UNESCO offers its Member States to advance the Education 2030 agenda.
Cognizant of the importance of robust education data and statistics in monitoring progress against SDG4, Ms. Hayashikawa’s workshop was complemented by a presentation from Mr. Shailendra Sigdel, Statistical Advisor for South Asia of the UNESCO Institute for Statistics, on the importance of education data collection, analysis and reporting within the framework of SDG4 – Education 2030 national implementation.
Following these presentations focused on SDG4, the national launch featured a presentation of the Report’s key findings and recommendations related to ‘Education for people and planet’, which was given by Ms. Mary Anne Therese Manuson of the UNESCO Tehran Cluster Office.
To discuss and debate the GEM Report analyses, findings and recommendations, a panel discussion was organized with significant relevant speakers from a cross-spread of different sectors, including representatives from the Ministry of Education, CSOs and the private sector. The panel discussion was moderated by Ms. Sara Yasan, Education Specialist of the UNICEF Country Office in Iran. The vibrant discussion tackled a number of key issues around the implementation of the broad SDG agenda in Iran, including existing policies and programmes that support vulnerable and marginalized populations; how education should transform in order to address pressing environmental, social and economic concerns; what steps the education sector must take to ensure skills are better aligned to what is needed in the workforce, and how data can be used to address issues of equity and ensure no one is left behind.
Dr. Mohadeseh Mohebhosseini of the Iranian National Commission for UNESCO closed the launch event by thanking all participants for their presence and active participation.
The National Launch of the 2016 GEM Report capped a week-long series of events organized to support the operationalization of the SDG4 – Education 2030 agenda in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Earlier in the month, a four-day Sub-Regional Training Workshop on Education Statistics and a High-Level National Consultation Meeting on SDG4 were co-organized by the UNESCO Tehran Cluster Office, the UNICEF Country Office in Iran, the Iranian National Commission for UNESCO and other key national partners.
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