At the opening of the UNESCO Week, youth delegates and policymakers joined forces for UNESCO MGIEP’s Talking Across Generations on Education to discuss the role of teachers in ESD
To say that it was a power-packed gathering for UNESCO MGIEP’s Talking Across Generations on Wednesday morning would be an understatement. The carefully chosen TAGe delegates who took the stage to discuss the Youth Perspectives on the Role of Teachers in Education for Peace and Sustainable development brought to the discussion not only a wealth of experience but also regional and professional diversity. The youth delegates came from 35 different nations and had been selected by UNESCO MGIEP via a rigorous application process that included participating in four weeks of online discussions.
Engaging in a dialogue with the youth were 15 distinguished experts cutting across academic, professional and regional expertise. Among them were Director General UNESCO Irina Bokova, Minister of Education Ontario, provincial parliament Mitzie Hunter, Special Adviser for Implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, Dessima Williams, UNESCO chair on GCED Dr Carlos Alberto Torres and other highly-established experts. The session got off to an inspirational start with UNESCO MGIEP’s first ever YESPeace champion and singer Emmanuel Kelly moving the audience with his story.
The dialogue began with moderators Paul Darvasi and Danika Littlechild posing the question regarding what a 21st-century teacher should look like. The responses from the experts and the youth drove home the realisation that teachers of today need to be superheroes to keep up with the changing needs of the students and the increased access to information.The experts brought in the question of support received by the teachers from other stakeholders including policymakers and the governments.
“For creating peace and sustainable development, dialogues such as the TAGe are essential,” said Irina Bokova, DG UNESCO. This point was further highlighted by the H.E. Mr Choong-hee Hahn
Ambassador, Permanent Delegation to UNESCO Korea, who reiterated that “Empathy and compassion are needed to create peaceful and sustainable societies.”
When touching upon the impact of technology on the role of the teachers, youth delegate Sandiso Sibisi from South Africa argued that in many regions the internet has not permeated to the extent of that in the Western world. The rich dialogue also touched upon the issues of teacher training, focus on assessment of students and new pedagogies.
The session ended on a high with Emmanuel Kelly once again taking the stage and sang a rendition of John Lennon’s Imagine.
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