“Everyone has the right to education” – stipulates Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Education is the prerequisite for social and economic development.
UNESCO’s current global education programme is the Agenda 2030. It is encapsulated in goal 4 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It stipulates that all people “should have access to lifelong learning opportunities”. Education is the prerequisite to improve the quality of life, overcome poverty, achieve gender equality, reduce infant mortality, contain population growth, ensure sustainable development and ultimately, to achieve peace and democracy. Education aims to provide humans with the ability to actively and autonomously participate in public life and to critically question their current situation. Implementing these educational goals means including all stakeholders involved especially the civil society and private economy.
Quality of education cannot be measured solely by its compliance with performance standards. For the Austrian Commission for UNESCO quality of education is linked to values such as tolerance, solidarity, understanding of diversity and respect for human rights. All of those aspects are indispensable to ensure that people can live peacefully together in the 21st century.
The “Four Pillars of Education”
UNESCO’s holistic understanding of education and the requirements to be met with are defined in the “four pillars of education”
- Learning to know
- Learning to do
- Learning to be
- Learning to live together
Education is the key issue of the future, because global sustainable development can only be realized if sustainability is anchored in the education system, across society. UNESCO's main task is to support governments in implementing the education agenda and to monitor the process at the global, regional and national levels.
In its annual World Education Report, UNESCO makes international comparisons of progress in education. In intervals of three to four years, UNESCO organises an international conference on education.