In the context of UNESCO’s support to its Member States in implementing Education Agenda 2030, and under the patronage of Lebanon’s Minister of Education Mr Akram Chehayeb, UNESCO’s Regional Office for Education in the Arab States (UNESCO Beirut) launched on 17 June 2019 a 3-day Arab-Africa Inter-Regional workshop and Teacher Task Force (TTF) focal points meeting on “Aligning Curriculum/Learning, Teacher Policies and Practices, and Assessment (ED-ALIGN)”.
The workshop constitutes a direct follow-up to the Third Arab Regional Meeting on Education 2030 (SDG4 AR-MED III) held in the Dead Sea, Jordan, on 4-7 November 2018, and where participants identified alignment among curricula/learning, teacher policies and practices, and assessment as a main avenue in enhancing learning quality for all in the light of the Education Agenda 2030, and emphasized the need for UNESCO and its partners to work towards identifying, developing and implementing appropriate support strategies in backstopping UNESCO-Member States efforts towards reaching SDG4 targets.
The workshop gathered technical experts covering the areas of curriculum, teachers and assessment from all Arab States, technical experts from African countries (Tanzania, Uganda, Senegal, Niger and Burkina Faso), TTF focal points from the Arab Region (Egypt, KSA, Jordan, Tunisia, Sudan, UAE) and members of the TTF from Hamdan Foundation, Dubai Cares, ABEGS, and UNRWA. Representatives of the Arab Regional Support Group for SDG4 as well as experts from UNESCO HQ also participated in the workshop.
In the opening session, UNESCO Beirut’s Programme Specialist for Curriculum and Teachers, Dr Dakmara Georgescu, delivered a welcome note in which she thanked Lebanon’s Ministry of Education for its support and patronage of this workshop, and its continuous collaboration with UNESCO towards reaching SDG4 targets and advancing the Education Agenda 2030. Georgescu highlighted that the main goal of this workshop is to enhance education quality through aligning curriculum, teacher policies and practice, and assessment in the light of Education Agenda 2030 in order to provide fair quality learning opportunities for all.
In his speech, UNESCO Beirut’s Director, Dr Hamed al Hammami, said: “Over the past several years, UNESCO has worked extensively to support its Member States in implementing the Education Agenda 2030 as part of the wider Sustainable Development Agenda. As part of these efforts, last November we successfully held the SDG4 AR-MED III meeting in the Dead Sea, Jordan. Our event today is a direct follow-up of the recommendations emerging from the Dead Sea meeting, and through this regional workshop our main focus will be unpacking the concept of alignment in order to better support country efforts in this regard. While focusing on the technical issue of alignment, our current meeting constitutes also an opportunity for the Teacher Task Force (TTF) focal points in our Region to discuss ways of enhancing their effective support in our countries in reaching SDG4 targets with an emphasis on the important role of teachers”.
Al Hammami added: “This workshop also aims to enhance and reinforce inter-regional cooperation between Arab and African states, and we hope it will reinforce links among different stakeholders based on revitalizing existing networks and creating new ones. As always, while looking into what is happening in our Region, including in the context of several protracted crises, we want to address international developments as well. We thus salute the presence in our conference of keynote speakers and resource persons from other countries (such as UK/England, and Argentina) who will help us add an international dimension to our Regional endeavors”.
In her turn, Ms Florence Ssereo, Education Programme Specialist at UNESCO HQ, highlighted the importance of this workshop in "creating positive synergies among various stakeholders, in order to expand the reach and increase the impact of our education programmes, at the local, regional, and international levels".
It is expected that the three-day joint workshop of country technical teams and TTF focal points will lead to defining a shared understanding of alignment concepts and implications for curriculum, teachers policies and practices, and assessment in meeting SDG4 targets, and collecting promising practices with regard to alignment .