Improving education through a multi-stakeholder e-discussion

UN Photo/Milton Grant

Organized in collaboration with the United Nations Development Group (UNDG), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and United Nation’s Children Fund (UNICEF), an e-discussion on “Education: Closing the Gap” was officially launched today and will run until 4 March.

These electronic discussions have been important elements of the preparatory process for the ECOSOC Annual Ministerial Review since 2005 as they provide the space for an open, multi-stakeholder forum to share new ideas and formulate critical policy messages to the UN intergovernmental decision-making process regarding important issues related to the achievement of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and Internationally Agreed Development Goals (IADGs).

In its fifth year, the 2011 version will encourage practitioners, academic experts and policy-makers to share experiences and provide recommendations on quality, access and innovation in education.

Each phase lasting approximately a week and a half will be guided by a guest moderator. Today, Dr. Mmantsetsa Marope, the Director of the Division for Basic to Higher Education and Learning at UNESCO, launched the first segment focusing on quality in education. During the first part, participants will discuss policy options for improvements in educator’s capacity and work conditions in the context of resource constraints.  

Expanding upon this, the second phase guided by Dr. Nicholas Alipui, Director of UNICEF Programmes, will examine access to education exploring how it can mitigate social disadvantages including what concrete steps can be taken to get and keep girls in school.

To conclude with the forum, Mr. Nicholas Burnett, Principal and Managing Director at the Results for Development Institute, will guide participants in a dialogue on innovation in education emphasizing how non-state actors can contribute to achievement of education and learning for all, and the needed innovations that should be developed in order to make education relevant for the modern world.

The goal for this e-discussion is to go beyond generic recommendations and to include evidence based experiences that provide insight into what has worked and what has not.

As noted in the invitation message from Mr. Sha Zukang, Under Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, “the views and recommendations that emerge from the discussion will become an important contribution to AMR preparations and inform the development of critical policy messages transmitted through UN intergovernmental processes and a reference resource for MDG-Net members.”

The outcome of the forum will feed directly into the Global Preparatory Meeting in April and the Annual Ministerial Review of education being held in Geneva during the Substantive Session of ECOSOC in July 2011.

 The e-discussion is open to the public. To register please send a blank e-mail to

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