Deputy Secretary-General's remarks at the introduction of the Secretary-General's Vision Statement on Transforming Education [as delivered]

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Distinguished Heads of State and Government,
Honorable Ministers,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good evening and welcome back to the General Assembly Hall.

We have come to the end of three incredible days.

Thank you for your engagement.

All that is left now is to end the Summit on a high: with clarity of vision; clarity of purpose; and a renewed sense of urgency and conviction that we can and we must end the global education crisis.


Let us begin this session by introducing the Secretary-General’s Vision Statement on Transforming Education.

The statement is available on the Summit website and available through the QR code on your desks. A small number of hard copies are also available .

The vision statement provides the Secretary-General’s perspective on the urgent, deep and fundamental change that is needed to transform education.

It is not a prescription. Context matters and so too does national ownership and realities.

It represents a set of foundational principles that we believe are common to us all.

The document draws inspiration from the report of the UNESCO International Commission on the Futures of Education that was introduced this morning by its
Chair Ms. Sahle Work Zelde.

It draws also on the extensive inputs provided through this process: the Youth Declaration; the thematic action tracks; the Summit Advisory Committee and the national consultations.

It is put forward as a guide to the work that lies ahead – on the ground and in the preparations for the 2024 Summit of the Future.


Allow me therefore to share only some of the headlines.

Let us begin by recognizing where we stand today.

Education has long held a special place in the hearts and minds of people across the world but as we heard throughout the day, education is in crisis.

With the right to education being deprived to so many, education is losing its power as the great enabler.

And with trust breaking down, our economies changing and our environment under attack, it is clear that education systems are no longer fit for purpose.

That is why the Secretary-General sees the transformation of education as an urgent political imperative for our collective futures.

This transformation will not happen overnight but we must get moving – today.

We must begin by taking targeted actions to recover losses experienced during the pandemic.

We must also get back to the job of realizing the promise of SDG4: to secure a quality education to every boy and girl in our world.

And we must do both with a clear eye on preparing learners for an uncertain future.


The transformation of education calls on us to revisit the purposes and, in turn, the curricula of education.

In this complex world, education must promote the holistic development of all learners throughout their lives.

It must provide them with the tools and confidence they need to realize their aspirations and contribute to their families, communities, and societies.

To do so, the Secretary-General proposes that curricula respond to four broad purposes:

First, learning to learn – equipping learners with the ability to acquire both traditional and contemporary foundational skills and to access learning from an early age.

Second, learning to live together – with a clear focus on global citizenship education, education for sustainable development and advancing gender equality.

Third, learning to do – preparing leaners for a rapidly changing world of work, by embracing the concept of life-long learning and by focusing on a new set of skills.

Finally learning to be - instilling in learners the values and capacities to lead a meaningful life, to enjoy that life and to live it fully and well.

To meet these higher purposes, the Secretary-General is calling for action on four fronts:

First, ensuring a learning environment that supports the development of all learners – reaching those who are currently excluded; and ensuring the learning environment supports the health and well-being of all.

Second, enabling teachers to transform themselves and become agents of change –  filling the global teacher gap and evolving the role of teachers to become knowledge producers and facilitators. And I welcome today the new initiative to establish a Global Commission on the Teaching Profession to take this work to the next level.

Third, harnessing the digital revolution for the benefit of public education – through universal access to broadband connectivity for teachers, students and all learning environments; through greater digital literacy; and through better content leveraging open public digital learning platforms and content.

And finally, investing more, more equitably, and more efficiently in education.

For domestic resources, this calls for a shifting of mindsets, progressively revamping tax systems; meeting existing benchmarks and doing more to increase investment per student population.

For international cooperation, this means creating more fiscal space for developing countries; ensuring that policies support greater national expenditures on education; and significantly increasing the resources available from ODA, international financing institutions, innovative finance and philanthropies.


Delivering on this vision will require collective commitment and action.

Governments are urged to translate their national commitments into a clear roadmap for transformation and to develop a whole of government eco-system for education.

The UN system is primed to support governments and communities on this journey, and must continue to sharpen its own offer.

Ultimately, the Transformation of Education will only happen if it is demanded by the people.

If there is one take away from this Summit, it is that Young people and young students will be the heartbeat of this effort.

But parents, teachers, unions, employers, academia, and civil society must all take up their respective roles.

A public movement for the transformation of education has begun to emerge. It must be nurtured and supported.

Such a movement can be supported by the five world leaders who have accepted the Secretary-General’s request to step up as global champions for education transformation – the Emir of Qatar, the President of Sierra Leone, the President of Argentina, the Prime Minister of Japan and the President of the Europe Commission.

And finally, as we will hear shortly, the SDG4 High Level Steering Committee will play a key role in ensuring the effective follow-up of the Summit.


The Transforming Education Summit has been a collective effort.

The Secretary-General stands ready to work with Member States and partners to keep the flame of transformation burning.

We must push forward together, with a focus on tangible actions where it matters most: on the ground, in the classroom, and in the experience of teachers and learners alike.

Thank you.

Position: Co -Founder of ENGAGE,a new social venture for the promotion of volunteerism and service and Ideator of Sharing4Good

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