The Transforming Education Summit will bring leaders, civil society, and diverse voices in education together at the United Nations Headquarters in New YorkTransforming Education Summit Logo to take steps towards reimagining and transforming education. From 16-19 September, the Summit will explore how to respond to the global crisis on equity, inclusion, quality, and relevance of education – helping to recover from learning loss following the pandemic and ensuring learners of all ages are able to secure better learning outcomes.  

IFLA joined the Transforming Education Pre-Summit in June 2022 to bring a library voice to the preparatory process. The Pre-Summit generated momentum through dialogue and stakeholder engagement, and offered an open forum to discuss key elements within the Summit’s five Thematic Action Tracks.

Download IFLA’s one-pager introducing the role of libraries in transforming education here [download PDF].

IFLA is delighted to be invited to continue engaging in this conversation by taking part in the Transforming Education Summit. Specifically, we will participate in Solutions Day (17 September), including through participation in the official Side Event, “Transforming Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) by implementing the UNESCO Open Education Resource (OER) Recommendation within Multi-Stakeholder Partnerships”.

Read on for a summary of the Pre-Summit outcomes, a look at the upcoming Summit, and more information on IFLA’s participation.

Outcomes from the Pre-Summit

Following several days of dialogue in late June 2022, Ministers of Education, policy and civil society leaders and youth activists from around the world drew a roadmap that covered five key areas of transformation: schools, life-long quality learning, teachers, digital connectivity and financing education.

From the closing remarks of Ms. Amina Mohammed, UN Deputy Secretary-General, key take-aways within these action areas include:

Action Track 1: Inclusive, equitable, safe and healthy schools

“We need to transform all learning environments and their place in society to cater to intrinsic value and well-being of every learner – their nutrition, their mental health and their safety – and we need to do it with a life-long learning perspective.”

  • This action track highlights that “all learners in all contexts” need access to an education that enables them to thrive throughout life.
  • This must have a focus on those who are excluded, marginalised, and displaced
  • This has a strong connection to the need to build and sustain peace

IFLA would like to see recognition of the role of  all libraries (school, public, university) in helping to transform learning environments both within and outside formal education systems.

Action Track 2: Learning and skills for life, work, and sustainable development
  • The Deputy S-G notes calls to integrate foundational learning, skills for life and living together, skills for a changing world of work, and education for sustainable development.
  • She further stresses these must be more context-specific and gender transformative
  • She notes some concrete proposals that were made during the Pre-Summit, including calls to advance legislative measures to ensure access to adult learning and education in a lifelong perspective, to integrate climate change into curricula, and to “rethink pedagogies of curiosity and cooperation rather than repetition and competition”.

She notes that, while a vision for transforming education will be put forward in the Summit, only national authorities, working closely with local stakeholders and learners, can make choices within their unique context.

IFLA would like to see library professionals included in reimagining and delivering curricula for foundational learning, lifelong learning, skills for life and education for sustainable development. We call on national stakeholders to include library professionals in elaborating and implementing Transforming Education strategies at the national level.

Action Track 3: Teachers, Teaching and the Teaching Profession
  • There is a call to empower teachers with the tools and capacities to enable them to help transform education
  • The professional competencies of transformative teachers must be rethought
  • There must be greater investment in the education workforce

IFLA would like to see library educators and professionals included in the definition of the education workforce, and their needs and value recognised and considered in this transformative process.

Action Track 4: Digital Learning
  • There is a need to drive for broader universal connectivity and tackle the digital divide in an effort to connect learners – especially those who cannot access school
  • There is a call to develop public digital education platforms at the national, regional, and global level and enhance open public digital learning resources as part of the digital commons.
  • There must be effort to use digitalisation to maximise potential of in-person learning while ensuring commitments to democratic, participatory governance and the protection of the safety and privacy

IFLA would like to see recognition of the critical role that non-formal educators, including libraries, have in ensuring access to the internet, to a diversity of digital content, ICT equipment, and the skills and competencies required to participate in the knowledge society. We would like to push for implementation of the UNESCO Open Education Resource (OER) Recommendation in partnership with libraries.

We also stress the critical role that libraries play in building multiple literacies, including digital and media and information literacy, and the intersection of these competencies with education for sustainable development.

Action Track 5: Education Financing
  • We must change perspective from viewing education as a simple expenditure and more as an important investment
  • There must be an increase in volume and effectiveness of education financing
  • The Deputy S-G notes specific proposals to view domestic financing of education through the lens of public investment in social goods
  • Further proposals on international financing, including on aid, on the role of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and multilateral development banks have been raised.

The Deputy S-G notes that a framework for a global compact for education financing has been outlined in the Pre-Summit, and she expects this compact will be ready for presentation in the Summit itself.

Through recognition at the national level of the role of libraries in tracks 1-4, as well as the lifelong learning focus called for in this transformative process, IFLA hopes that libraries will be included in these funding schemes.

Next Steps

These takeaways will be brought forward to the Transforming Education Summit in mid-September.

In the meantime, all stakeholders and civil society actors at the local, national, and international levels have been called to continue pushing for transformative change in their contexts – to highlight the work they do to realise this change, and make their voices heard.

Read the full statement here: Deputy Secretary-General’s Closing remarks: Transforming Education Pre-Summit.

The Transforming Education Summit

Following the momentum of the Pre-Summit, IFLA is excited to continue highlighting the role that libraries are already playing in many of these key areas through our participation in the Transforming Education Summit.

Key Outcomes from the Summit are expected to be:

1. National and international commitments to transform education;
2. Greater public engagement around and support for transforming education; and
3. A Vision Statement on Transforming Education from the UN Secretary-General

For more, see the Transforming Education Summit Concept Note here: [Download PDF].

in support of this, Solutions Day (17 September) offers an important opportunity for diverse voices to highlight, launch, or scale-up their initiatives that align with the Summit Thematic Action Tracks.

Within this context, IFLA will participate in a side event organised by the SDG Academy- Secretariat of Mission 4.7, the Permanent Mission of Ireland to the UN, the Permanent Mission of Ghana to the UN, and UN Academic Impact.

Solutions Day Side Event

Transforming Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) by implementing the UNESCO Open Education Resource (OER) Recommendation within Multi-Stakeholder Partnerships

  • When: 17 September, 2022
  • Venue: UN Headquarters, New York

This side event will announce actions by a range of stakeholders to implement the UNESCO Open Education Resource (OER) Recommendation in support of education for sustainable development (ESD).

IFLA will take this opportunity to announce the newly launched 2022 Update to the IFLA-UNESCO Public Library Manifesto. We will highlight the emphasis on the public library’s role in helping all members of society access, produce, create, and share knowledge – including through the promotion of open access to scientific knowledge, research and innovations.

We will also highlight the newly updated IFLA School Library Manifesto, which is currently undergoing an endorsement process with UNESCO. Through these documents, we will push for recognition of the role of libraries –  working both within their communities and within the formal education system – as essential partners for accessing information, implementing the UNESCO OER Recommendation, and transforming education for sustainable development.

Follow IFLA for more information on the Transforming Education Summit in the coming weeks.

Contact: Claire McGuire ([email protected])