From July 2nd to July 4th 2023, UNESCO Assistant Director-General (ADG) for Education, Ms. Stefania Giannini made an official visit to the People’s Republic of China.
Ms. Giannini and her delegation first arrived to Shanghai on the 2nd of July. The ADG was received by Mr. Chen Jining, Party Secretary of Shanghai, Mr. Chen Jie, Vice Minister of Education and Director of the Chinese National Commission for UNESCO, Mr. Qin Changwei, Secretary General of the Chinese National Commission for UNESCO, Mr. Zhou Yaming, Director of the Shanghai Municipal Education Commission, and Mr. Ye Linlin, Deputy Director of the Shanghai Municipal Education Commission.
The main purpose of the official visit of the ADG for Education was to familiarize and assess the proposed site of the UNESCO Category 1 Institute for STEM Education and discuss with Chinese Government Officials on administrative and operational details of the proposed Institute. The 216th Session of the UNESCO Executive Board recently positively reviewed the creation of a Category 1 Institute for STEM Education and the decision will be made at the forthcoming 2023 42nd General Conference of UNESCO. The mission and mandate of the UNESCO Category 1 Institute for STEM Education in Shanghai will be to promote quality STEM education for all. It will significantly contribute towards enhancing institutional capacity in science technology, innovation and sustainable development at global and regional level.
On July 3rd, Ms. Giannini paid a courtesy visit to the Chinese Minister of Education, Mr. Huai Jinpeng, at the premises of the Ministry of Education in Beijing. Both parties discussed key issues, including the SDG4, digitalization of education, AI in Education, and gender equality in and through education. Mr. Huai expressed his appreciation to UNESCO for its significant contribution to advancing global educational reform agenda. He looks forward to continue the strong collaboration and partnership between UNESCO and China to jointly contribute towards the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4) in China by 2030.
Ms. Stefania Giannini and her Delegation paid a courtesy visit to the Chinese Minister of Education © UNESCO
Ms. Giannini also acknowledged the continued support from the Chinese Government, notably for China’s role as member of the SDG4-Education 2030 High-Level Steering Committee, a global multi-stakeholder consultation and coordination mechanism for education. Ms. Giannini reassured UNESCO’s strong commitment to translate the vision of the Transforming Education Summit into action, both in China and globally. She thanked China’s support and commitment in the UN Transforming Education Summit.
Ms. Stefania Giannini meeting with the Chinese Minister of Education, Mr. Huai Jinpeng © UNESCO
On the morning of July 4th, the ADG for Education attended the launch ceremony of the Chinese version of the Global Monitoring Report 2021/2, under the theme of non-state actors in education, and China’s mid-term Progress Report on SDG 4. It coincided with the International Symposium on High-Quality Development of Education. Ms. Giannini attended the launch ceremony and international symposium accompanied by Prof. Shahbaz Khan, Director and Representative of UNESCO Multisectoral Regional Office for East Asia, and Mr. Robert Parua, Programme Specialist for Education of UNESCO Multisectoral Regional Office for East Asia. UNESCO is working closely with the Member States in the Asia Pacific region to prepare and submit SDG4 mid-term progress report by end of 2023. China is among first countries to complete the SDG4 Mid-term progress report.
Launch of the Chinese version of the GEM Report 2021/2 and China’s Progress Report on SDG 4 © UNESCO
The ADG highlighted in her remarks the importance of non-state actors in education service delivery during the launch ceremony. She congratulated China for its significant progress towards the SDG 4 targets, in particular its use of digital technology to transform its education system for a better-quality education at all levels. The ADG acknowledged China’s leadership role in the SDG 4 implementation and UN Transforming Education Summit at the global and regional level.
Launch of the Chinese version of the GEM Report 2021/2 and China’s Progress Report on SDG 4, and International Symposium on High-Quality Development of Education © UNESCO
Mr. Wang Jiayi, Vice Minister of Education of the People’s Republic of China, in his opening remarks acknowledged the global leadership role of UNESCO in contributing towards transforming education systems in Member States. Mr. Wang stressed the urgent need for education researchers and policymakers to promote reform and adopt innovative approaches for transforming education.
Ms. Stephania Giannini delivering her remarks © UNESCO
Prof. Shahbaz Khan also delivered a keynote speech emphasizing the active engagement of China in advancing the SDG 4 targets and aligning its national strategies with the SDG 4 national benchmarks. Prof. Khan noted the significant progress and achievement made by China in linking education sector’s contribution and alignment towards poverty alleviation and sustainable development. He asserted that the Global Education Monitoring Report 2021/2 and China’s Progress Report on SDG 4 are critical tools for monitoring and assessing the progress made, for identifying key challenges, and making sure that China is on the right pathway to achieve the key SDG 4 targets by 2030.
Mr. Wang Jiayi delivering his remarks © UNESCO
On the afternoon of July 4th, Ms. Giannini visited the UNESCO Multisectoral Regional Office for East Asia (UNESCO Beijing Office). She was warmly welcomed by the UNESCO Beijing Office colleagues and delivered a presentation about UNESCO’s global leadership in education. She underlined key achievements, such as the UN Transforming Education Summit, SDG 4 Global Coordination, promoting global dialogue through the Futures of Education global report, and leading the global education coalition to respond effectively through the COVID-19 response. She further highlighted two key strategic priorities linked to greening education and digital transformation, including artificial intelligence in education, and acknowledged the Chinese Government’s support to host the first 2019 global conference on AI in Education that adopted the Beijing Consensus.
Prof. Shahbaz Khan delivering his keynote speech © UNESCO
The courtesy visit of UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Education, Ms. Stefania Giannini, to China highlighted the increasing importance of strengthening partnerships and joining efforts to advance the global agenda for sustainable development. It demonstrates UNESCO’s strong commitment to closely work with Member States and ensure the right to quality education is being promoted inclusively and equitably at the country, regional and global level.
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