November 30, New Delhi—UNESCO MGIEP’s Rethinking Schooling for the 21st Century: The State of Education for Peace, Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship in Asia was officially launched in South Asia on 30 November 2017 at the UNESCO New Delhi office.
Building on the content analysis of 172 official documents in 18 languages based on a common coding scheme and extensive literature review on Asian schooling, this report seeks to assess how far the aims and values encapsulated in SDG 4.7 have been incorporated into the educational policies and officially-mandated curricula of 22 Asian countries.
“This report is unique in that it addresses fundamental challenges confronting education systems in Asia,” remarked Anantha Kumar Duraiappah, director of UNESCO MGIEP further highlighting that it has luminaries from the field of education across the Asia-Pacific region who participated in the study.
By analyzing current policies, curricular frameworks, subject syllabi and textbooks, the report highlights many interesting similarities and differences across the region.
“The study shows that the purpose of schooling is conceived in narrowly instrumentalist and nationalistic terms across much of Asia. School curricula in many countries surveyed do not emphasize the idea of critical and engaged citizens with a voice in determining their own collective future,” revealed Yoko Mochizuki from UNESCO MGIEP who has led the work on the report.
Mochizuki further remarked that one of the many interesting findings of the reports was that the countries that contrary to popular perception, the countries that accord the highest weightage to gender equality were concentrated in South Asia.
The launch was followed by a panel discussion on The State of Education for Peace, Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship in South Asia and beyond which was presided over by philosopher and educationist Prof. Mrinal Miri. The distinguished panel comprised former director NCERT, Prof. Krishna Kumar, Prof Hari Vasudevan from the University of Calcutta and Ms. Sanskriti Menon of Centre of Environment Education, Pune.
“If education is to mitigate the threats that we are facing globally, it needs focus on the common good,” pointed out Prof. Krishna Kumar adding, “Can you make a good citizen without destroying the good human?”
The panelists agreed that the report pushes us to deliberate on the purpose of education. The chair of the panel Prof Miri remarked that he was encouraged that a call for “radical rethinking of schooling” as is being launched by UNESCO MGIEP.
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