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Education: key to the future

Everyone has the right to education  

Education: key to the future

“Everyone has the right to education.” This is stipulated in Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Education is the prerequisite for social and economic development.

Education 2030

UNESCO’s current global education programme is known as the Agenda 2030. It is encapsulated in the fourth Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) and stipulates that all people “should have access to lifelong learning opportunities”. Education is the prerequisite to improving quality of life, overcoming poverty, achieving gender equality, reducing infant mortality, containing population growth, ensuring sustainable development, and ultimately, achieving peace and democracy. It aims to provide humans with the ability to participate in public life actively and autonomously, and critically question their current situations. Implementing these educational goals means including all the relevant stakeholders, especially civil society and the private economy.

Quality of education cannot be measured based solely upon 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 these aspects are indispensable in ensuring that people can live together peacefully in the 21st century.

The “Four Pillars of Education”

UNESCO’s holistic understanding of education and the requirements to be met 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 element in view of the future because global sustainable development can only be achieved if sustainability is anchored in the education system throughout society. UNESCO's main tasks are to support governments in implementing the education agenda and  monitor the process at the global, regional, and national levels.

In its annual World Education Report, UNESCO draws international comparisons concerning progress in education. Every three to four years, UNESCO organises an international conference on education.

Education 2030
Inclusive, equitable, and quality education for all

Agenda 2030 is UNESCO's current global action programme for education. It is an integral part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and provides the framework for implementing SDG 4.

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UNESCO Associated Schools Project Network
Austrian project schools in the global Associated Schools Project Network (ASPnet)

Founded by UNESCO in 1953, the ASPnet encompasses more than 11,500 educational institutions in 182 countries. Austria has been a member since 1957; currently, more than 95 schools are members.

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Global Citizenship Education
Educated to become responsible and active global citizens

In a globalised, interdependent world, where challenges must be addressed locally and globally at the same time, the discourse on education has changed. There is increasing focus on values, attitudes, and communication skills as a critical counterpart to cognitive knowledge and skills.

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Youth Representatives
Monitoring UNESCO-relevant topics from a youth perspective

In April 2019, the Austrian Commission for UNESCO launched the Youth Representative Program which complements its Youth Advisory Committee. The Youth Representatives are responsible for monitoring UNESCO-relevant topics from a youth perspective and are actively involved in (inter-)national working groups.

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