By Ochiaka Ugwu
UNESCO Regional Offices in Abuja, Dakar and Yaoundé are jointly organizing a Regional Launch of UNESCO’s 2020 Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report: Inclusion and Education, All means all, in the West and Central African Region Thursday.
The report provides an in-depth analysis of key factors for exclusion of learners in education systems worldwide due to their background, identity and ability (i.e. gender, age, location, poverty, disability, ethnicity, indignity, language, religion, migration or displacement status, sexual orientation or gender identity expression, incarceration, beliefs and attitudes).
It also highlights the exacerbated exclusion during the COVID-19 pandemic, estimating about 40% of low and lower-middle income countries have not supported disadvantaged learners during temporary school shutdown.
The 2020 Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report urges countries to focus on those left behind as schools reopen so as to foster more resilient and equitable education. “To rise to the challenges of our time, a move towards more inclusive education is imperative”, said the Director-General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay.
“Rethinking the future of education is all the more important following the COVID-19 pandemic, which further widened and put a spotlight on inequalities. Failure to act will hinder the progress of societies.”
The purpose of this event is to present the key findings and recommendations of the 2020 GEM Report with a focus on the topic of inclusion in education at both regional and global levels. Giving emphasis on the regional level, the experiences of selected countries, civil society organizations and the UN systems on inclusive education environment, which is now deeply hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic, and on exclusion, will be shared to invoke lively discussions on regional solutions.
This event is an excellent opportunity to promote the message of “All Means All” in West and Central Africa as well as what we could do to reduce the exclusion in education.