From 29 November to 1 December 2021, the 5th UNESCO Forum on Transformative Education for Sustainable Development, Global Citizenship, Health and Well-being was held virtually from Seoul, Republic of Korea. Co-organized by UNESCO and APCEIU, and hosted by the Ministries of Education and Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea, the forum gathered about 3,000 online participants.
With rising voices to capture concrete progress in transformative education, the 5th UNESCO forum focused on identifying “where do we stand” on the achievement of SDG Target 4.7, under the term of “transformative education.” During the forum, discussions were held under four different strands: What does progress in transformative education look like 1) a look at practices at the country level, 2) a look at recent global and regional data, 3) the crucial role of teachers, and 4) conclusions and next steps.
The first day of the forum started with the opening ceremony, moderated conversation on transformative education and the first plenary and concurrent sessions. UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Education, Ms Stefania Giannini, highlighted that Transformative Education was at the heart of UNESCO’s mission, a point recalled during the Organization’s recent 75th birthday celebrations. APCEIU Director, Dr Hyun Mook Lim, emphasized transformative education both requires and promotes transformation of education for which we need collective actions.
On the second day, there was a special plenary session dedicated to talk about experiences from the host country, Korea, and speakers shared good practices, emerging trends and lessons learnt on achieving SDG Target 4.7 at the domestic and international levels.
Moreover, UNESCO launched the Teachers Have Their Say report by presenting the results of the global survey of 58,000 teachers carried out in cooperation with Education International on Teachers’ readiness for education for sustainable development and global citizenship across the world. The survey result showed the majority of teachers were interested in themes related to sustainable development and global citizenship, but nearly a quarter responded that they are not ready to teach them, since they are not familiar with relevant pedagogies. And it was followed by a discussion on ways to address this gap.
At the final plenary session, a summary of recommendations from the forum was presented as follows:
- Develop policies that support the integration of transformative education across the education sector
- Mainstream Education for Sustainable Development, Global Citizenship Education and health and well-being across the whole curriculum
- Enhance whole-school and widen them to whole-of-community approaches
- Invest in teachers at all levels
- Let students, teachers and other stakeholders co-create pedagogies, materials and monitoring mechanisms
- Develop and expand easy-to-use monitoring mechanisms that help countries to evaluate their progress, setting clear targets
Dr Hyun Mook Lim, Director of APCEIU, emphasized the importance of international-level consensus as a support and stimulus for multiple stakeholders at the national level to truly realize the transformative education. “I hope the momentum for transformative education generated at this forum will be kept and sustained in the coming years” said Dr Lim for his final remarks at the forum.