On 15 March, UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova, and Mr John Galvin, Vice President of Intel, co-chaired the newly launched Broadband Commission Working Group meeting on Education, which aims at harnessing the power of new technologies to enhance quality education and widen access – with a focus on identifying the digital skills and competences necessary for today and tomorrow.
The Working Group was held in Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China, with the participation of the President of the Republic of Rwanda, H.E. Mr Paul Kagame, President of the Carlos Slim Foundation, Mr Carlos Slim Helú, represented by Mr Carlos Jarque, and the Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union, Mr Houlin Zhao.
“The digital revolution must be a development revolution for all,” declared the Director-General. “This means widening access to ICTs and broadband – it means also ensuring every girl and boy, every woman and man, has the skills to make the most of new technologies”.
The Director-General highlighted that “our goals is to build inclusive knowledge societies, where all participate, all voices are heard.”
John Galvin noted the importance of leadership in driving the digital revolution forward in education — in policies, in schools, in and outside classrooms, with and for students.
“I believe our starting point is clear — education is a human right that is essential for dignity and empowerment and a transformational force for societies and economies,” continued Irina Bokova.
She underscored that new technologies can be essential motors to advance the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – specifically Sustainable Development Goal 4, to ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning by 2030.
Referring to the next steps to take this forward, the Director-General highlighted the focus of the Working Group on identifying the digital skills relevant for societies today and tomorrow and on clarifying how public policies can best advance this agenda – through new education strategies, new approaches across the education sector and new partnerships.
“In this spirit, I believe the Compendium Document we are preparing will open new doors not just for education but for societies as a whole,” said the Director-General.
The Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development was established in 2010 and comprises of more than 50 leaders from across a range of government and industry sectors. They are committed to actively supporting countries, UN experts and NGOs to fully leverage the potential of ICT to drive national Sustainable Development Goal strategies in key areas such as education, healthcare, gender equality and environmental management.