The piece below is the foreword by Dr. Liesbet Steer and Dr. Tariq Al Gurg from Rewiring Education for People and Planet, a new report launched at the UN Transforming Education Summit by the Education Commission and Dubai Cares.
We are at a pivotal moment with no time to waste. We have less than eight years to 2030 and based on current progress, the future does not look bright. Unless we make a fundamental shift in the way we act as a global community, we will not meet Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4, and several others. It will not be enough to tinker with education systems on the margins of the larger development challenges.
We must work together with new and unlikely allies other than education actors alone to reimagine how our interconnected systems – health, education, economic development, and the protection of our planet – can jointly deliver prosperity and peace for the present and future generations.
The 17 Global Goals are intimately linked and their achievement profoundly interdependent. No country can deliver high-quality education where children are not able to learn because they are hungry, required to work, take care of their families, or even when schools are shut due to environmental disasters or conflict. No country can make progress toward good health and well-being without access to nutritious food, safe and inclusive schools, and clean water. No country can attain sustainable economic growth where entrenched poverty and inequalities in learning and skills undermine human capital.
This necessary interlinkage among the SDGs is recognized in SDG17, which calls for multi- stakeholder partnerships and building robust, effective collaborations to deliver extraordinary results. These extraordinary results are what this report is about. In this world of multiple, interconnected crises and ever- scarce resources, we must work together toward win-win solutions and a plan of action that will deliver a united vision for prosperity, with people and the planet at its center.
Indeed, this vision was a key impetus for Dubai Cares to host the RewirEd Summit in December 2021 in partnership with Expo 2020 Dubai and in close coordination with the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation at the Expo site. The Summit brought together new and unlikely allies to collaborate, reflect, innovate, and transform education. More than just ministries of education and global education leaders, the Summit convened ministries of youth, finance and technology, parliamentarians, the private sector, youth networks, community leaders, think tanks, and multilaterals representing 144 nationalities over 3 days to impel truly collaborative action globally. As stated by Amina Mohammed, Deputy Secretary General of the UN, the “RewirEd Summit deliberations provide an important building block for the Transforming Education Summit,” and with this in mind, this report sets out a bold new vision for “Rewiring Education for People and Planet” – an ambitious way of working across sectors and stakeholders to seize win-win opportunities to realize an education transformation together with the wider development agenda.
Focusing on education alone is a missed opportunity to unlock its wider potential as the most effective vehicle to address the world’s shared challenges and opportunities, and to harness its transformative power to determine the future well-being of people and the planet.
Education must be everybody’s business.