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UNESCO Bangkok, Equitable Education Fund and partners to host 2nd International Conference on Equitable Education: Together Towards Equity

UNESCO Bangkok, Equitable Education Fund and partners to host 2nd International Conference on Equitable Education: Together Towards Equity

Since early 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has challenged governments, teachers, students, and parents worldwide. In response to school closures, various distance-learning options – the majority of them online – were swiftly and widely implemented to ensure learning continuity. Internet provision and distribution varies considerably, however, from country to country, suggesting that digital high-tech approaches do not necessarily foster equitable and inclusive learning environments. In addition, a pre-existing and tenacious ‘digital divide’ in education has been only exacerbated by the relative inflexibility of teacher’s pedagogies as adapted to online platforms. Just as significant, there remains insufficiency of learning resource allocations in government and school system education budgets. And while it has been widely reported that the pandemic has created additional challenges and costs for out-of-school children, and youth (OOSCY), the disabled, the economically disadvantaged, and other long-marginalized learners, the path to recovery remains uncertain.

The Equitable Education Fund (EEF), Thailand, in partnership with Thailand’s Ministry of Education; the UNESCO Asia and Pacific Regional Bureau for Education (UNESCO Bangkok); the UNICEF East Asia and Pacific Regional Office (UNICEF EAPRO); UNICEF Thailand; Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organisation (SEAMEO); and Save the Children, are jointly organising the 2nd International Conference on Equitable Education: Together Towards Equity (hereafter ‘Conference’), from 19 to 20 October 2022, expressly to take stock of, and further develop equitable education initiatives, both regionally and globally, to strengthen education responses to the many challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic since 2020 and beyond. 

The Conference is organised following the success of the 1st International Conference on All for Education: Equitable Education; and the Regional Conference on Teachers and Equitable Education: All for Education in Southeast Asia, which were attended by some 2,400 participants and 3,200 participants, respectively. 

To continue with the aforementioned efforts for equity in education, as well as to build upon accelerating global and regional momentum on Equitable Education generally, the Conference will address governments’ strategies for OOSCY, emerging trends of digital learning, and recovery programmes for marginalised and disadvantaged groups during the COVID-19 pandemic, to equip the target groups with necessary skills for their lifelong well-being and work. Discussions among participants of the Conference on the implementation of education systems, assessments and partners will also be addressed to tackle critical issues concerning OOSCY.

In addition, the Conference will raise awareness and facilitate the sharing of information on equity-based education at the national, regional, and international levels, and reflect on emerging strategies, mechanisms and practices to foster equity in each of these contexts. Applicable technical recommendations will be developed as the outcome of the Conference, taking into consideration the participants’ discussions; the Bangkok Statement 2022 – ‘Towards an effective learning recovery for all and transforming education in Asia-Pacific’ – as adopted during the 2nd Asia-Pacific Regional Education Minister's Conference (APREMC-II), in Bangkok (June 2022); and the outcomes of the Transforming Education Summit (TES) organised by the United Nations as part of the 77th Session of the UN General Assembly, in New York, in mid September 2022.

Policy-makers, education leaders, educators and other stakeholders will have an opportunity to 1) gain first-hand knowledge of international and regional experiences towards enhancing equity through education systems; 2) exchange ideas with colleagues; and 3) cooperatively support existing and new efforts towards educational equity. The efforts made to ensure educational equity through non-formal education focuses on securing equity in education, including for underprivileged and marginalised groups. However, many of the same principles underlying non-formal education can be applied as well to a variety of contexts within formal education. 

Event date / time: 19 to 20 October 2022 
19 October, 9.00 – 18.00 Bangkok (UTC+7) 
20 October, 9.30 – 16.30 Bangkok (UTC+7) 
The conference will be arranged back-to-back with this year’s Princess Maha Chakri Award Conference (PMCA), scheduled 17 to 18 October 2022.

Advance registration required: 
   In-person: By invitation only (for more information, please contact afeconference(at)eef.or.th)
   Online: https://www.afe2022.eef.or.th/

Type of event: Hybrid Modality
On-site: Centara Grand & Bangkok Convention Centre at CentralWorld, Bangkok
Online: Link will be provided after registration 

Co-organizers
●    Equitable Education Fund (EEF), Thailand
●    Save the Children
●    Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organisation (SEAMEO)
●    UNESCO Asia and Pacific Regional Bureau for Education (UNESCO Bangkok)
●    UNICEF East Asia and Pacific Regional Office (UNICEF EAPRO)
●    UNICEF Thailand

Target participants:
1.    Government agencies and NGO service providers, including academics, policy-makers, educators, and youth representatives.
2.    Organisations committed to equity in education can attend this conference as members of Equitable Education Alliance (EEA), a community of practitioners with the like-minded mission of improving education equity and narrowing gaps in education within the Asia-Pacific region and beyond.

For the event's Concept Note and Programme, please see the attached file below.

For questions and more information: afeconference(at)eef.or.th

Event
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