What to expect at the World Education Forum

What is happening in Incheon, Republic of Korea this week

Primary wing of Adarsha Saula Yubak Higher Secondary School, Bhainsipati, Lalitpur, Nepal. Credit: GPE/NayanTara Gurung Kakshapati

This week, the education community meets at the World Education Forum in Incheon, Republic of Korea, to assess the progress made since 2000 and chart a path forward towards achieving the proposed Sustainable Development Education goal of ensuring “inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”.

Among the participants are UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Kailash Satyarthi, United Nations Special Envoy on Global Education Education Gordon Brown, Her Highness Sheikha Moza Bint Nasser, and World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim.

The Global Partnership for Education participates in several events through our Board Chair Julia Gillard, Chief Executive Officer Alice Albright, technical experts from the GPE Secretariat, and members of our board and partner organizations.

At the end of the Forum participants will agree in principle to a Framework for Action aligned with the Sustainable Development Goal on education and adopt a political declaration uniting stakeholders around one education agenda for the next fifteen years.

Highlights from the World Education Forum program

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NGO Forum - May 18-19

Preceding the official opening ceremony of the World Education Forum is the two-day NGO Forum during which NGOs will meet and agree on a collective civil society vision for education post-2015 as well as reflect on strategies for civil society engagement in the post-2015 education agenda.

Download the NGO Forum program and follow the livestream.

Tuesday May 19

Opening Ceremony and High-level Panel Debate “Setting the Stage” 2:30pm - 6:00 pm KST (Korea Standard Time), 1:30 am – 5:00 am ET (Eastern Time)

The opening of the World Education Forum will begin with speeches from high-level participants, followed by a debate around Education for All progress and the priorities of the new education agenda.

Participants include: Irina Bokova (Director-general, UNESCO), Ban Ki-moon (UN Secretary General), Jim Yong Kim (President, World Bank Group), Anthony Lake (Executive Director UNICEF), Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka (Executive Director, UN Women), Her Highness Sheika Moza Bint Nasser (UNESCO Special Envoy for Basic and Higher Education), Kailash Satyarthi (Laureate of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize), Aaron Benavot (Director, EFA Global Monitoring Report UNESCO), Julia Gillard (Board Chair of the Global Partnership for Education), Gordon Brown (UN Special Envoy on Global Education), and James Heckman (Laureate of the 2000 Nobel Economics Prize).

Wednesday May 20

Plenary Session I - Education 2030 - Proposed agenda and Framework for Action 9:00 am - 10:30 am KST, Tuesday May 19th 8:00 pm – 9:30 pm ET

This session will discuss the overall 2030 education agenda and Framework for Action, and the draft WEF 2015 Declaration.

Thematic Debate - Education in conflict and crisis 11:00 am - 12:30 pm KST, Tuesday May 19th 10:00 pm – 11:30 pm ET

This session will address the question of how the post-2015 agenda will ensure access to education for children and young people in crisis-affected situations. Conflict and crisis have greatly hampered Education for All progress and participants will discuss how to mitigate the impact of crisis on achieving 2030 education targets. The discussion will focus on the need for crisis-sensitive planning, partnerships and financing to ensure that every child has access to safe, quality education.

Participants: Daniel Endres (External relations Director, UNHCR), John Gai Yaah (Minister of Education, Science, and Technology, South Sudan), Pshtiwan Abdulla (Minister of Education, Iraq) Jesus Lorenzo R. Mateo (Department of Education, Philippines), Julia Gillard (Board chair of the Global Partnership for Education), Geeta Rao Gupta (Deputy Executive Director, UNICEF), Sumaya Saluja (Youth representative, Global Education First Initiative)

Thematic Debate - Can financing for results help us achieve learning for all? 11:00 am - 12:30 pm KST, Tuesday May 19th 10:00 pm – 11:30 pm ET

This debate will highlight the critical role of financing to achieve the education goal. Participants will give an overview of current education financing and the challenges of financing the 2030 education agenda. In addition, the need for more equitable, efficient and innovative financing will be discussed by highlighting experiences of individual countries. Panelists will also present strategies that have successfully led to more and better education services and results, especially for the most marginalized children

Participants: Keith Hansen (Vice-President World Bank Group), Shukuru Kawambwa (Minister for Education and Vocational Training, Tanzania), Serigne Mbaye Thiam (Minister of National Education, Senegal), Nesmy Manigat (Minister of Education, Haiti), Baligh-Ur-Rehman Muhammad (Minister of State for Education, Pakistan), Tarald Brautaset (Ambassador, Special Representative on the Government’s Education Initiative, Norway), Alice Albright (CEO of the Global Partnership for Education)

Parallel Group Session - Quality primary and secondary education - an increased focus on learning 2:30 pm - 4:00 pm KST, 1:30 am – 3:00 am ET

A focus on learning and equity will be at the forefront of this discussion, highlighting challenges and opportunities on how education systems can provide all children with quality basic education that will enable them to learn the skills necessary to succeed. Panelists will share knowledge and experience and point out strategies and priority areas that help ensure that this target is achievable.

Participants: Claudia Costin (Senior Director, World Bank Group), Nguyen Vin Hien (Vice-Minister of Education and Training, Vietnam), Suad Abdel Raziq Mohamed Sayeed (Minister of General Education, Sudan), Zbigniew Marciniak (Former Minister of Education, Poland), John Mugo (Director of Data and Voice, Twaweza Tanzania), Jane Edmondson (Department for International Development, UK), Julia Gillard (Board Chair of the Global Partnership for Education).

Parallel Group Session - Ensuring equity and gender equality in education and training: perspectives from vulnerable populations 2:30 pm - 4:00 pm KST, 1:30 am – 3:00 am ET

Women and girls from disadvantaged and marginalized groups face additional, multiple, and intersecting forms of discrimination with respect to their education. For marginalized populations, access to education is often not assured, and the quality of education provided is poor affecting learning outcomes and empowerment. Panelists will discuss strategies to enable all children and adults, regardless of status to realize their right to education.

Participants: Yannick Glemareck (Deputy Executive Director, UN Women), Elias Bau Saab (Minister of Education and Higher Education, Lebanon), Pauline Rose (Professor of International Education, University of Cambridge), Geeta Rao Gupta (Deputy Executive Director, UNICEF), Eun Mee Kim (Dean, Graduate School of International Studies, Ewha Women’s University, Republic of Korea)

Plenary Session II - Education drives development - the example of the Republic of Korea 4:30 pm – 6:00 pm KT, 3:30 am – 5:00 am ET

This session will discuss the central role of education in national development, focusing on Korea’s experience in and through educational development. It will review educational strategies and policy options to address current and upcoming challenges.

Participants: Jeffrey Sachs (Special advisor to the UN Secretary General on the Millennium Development Goals), Serigne Mbaye Thiam (Minister of national education, Senegal), Helene Oberg (State secretary of education and research, Sweden), Keith Hansen (Vice-president, World Bank Group), Jaeho Yeom (President, Korea University), Youngsuk Chi (President, International Publishers Association)

Thursday May 21

Parallel Group Session - Beyond aid: transforming education systems through partnerships 09:00 am - 10:30 am KST, Wednesday May 20th 08:00 pm – 9:30 pm ET

Delivering the ambitious vision of the 2030 education agenda should be country-led, but transforming education systems to achieve learning for all requires countries to working together in partnership. This session will present country and international perspectives on the role of development cooperation and partnership beyond 2015. The discussion will draw on central themes of learning and equity to shift the debate from a focus on development finance to an emphasis on meaningful partnerships to catalyze change.

Participants: Nick Dyer (Director General for policy and global programs, DFID UK), Shukuru Kawambwa (Minister of education, Tanzania), Julia Gillard (Board chair of the Global Partnership for Education), Peter Colenso (Executive director, education, Children’s Investment Fund Foundation)

Parallel Group Session - Providing meaningful learning opportunities to out-of-school children 09:00 am - 10:30 am KST, Wednesday May 20th 08:00 pm – 9:30 pm ET

This session will provide a nuanced understanding of the profiles of out-of-school children in different regions of the world and the barriers that they face drawing on recent analysis conducted under the Out of School Children Initiative. Panelists will explore the changes that are needed in countries that have out-of-school populations as well as examples of effective approaches in countries that are in the final mile.

Participants: Jo Bourne (Associate Director for Education, UNICEF), Nesmy Manigat (Minister of Education, Haiti), Albert Motivans (Head of Education Indicators and Data Analysis, UIS), Liliana Preoteasa (Director-General, Ministry of Education, Romania), Alice Albright (CEO of the Global Partnership for Education), Mary Joy Pigozzi (Director, Educate a Child)

Plenary Session III - How does education contribute to sustainable development post-2015? 11:00 am - 12:30pm KST, Wednesday May 20th 10:00 pm – 11:30 pm ET

This session will highlight and debate the links between education and other sustainable development issues such as climate change, health and poverty reduction. It will underscore the transformative power of education and discuss the importance of cross-sectoral approaches.

Participants: Amina Mohammed (Special Advisor to the United Nations Secretary General on Post-2015 development planning), Renato Janine Ribeiro (Minister of Education, Brazil), Mark Brown (Minister of Finance, Cook Islands), Kandia Camara (Minister of National Education, Cote d’Ivoire), Rashedak Coudhury (CEO, Campaign for Popular Education)

Plenary Session IV - Education 2030: Agreement on the Framework for Action and adoption of the final Declaration 2:30 pm - 4:00 pm KST, 1:30 am – 3:00 am ET

Participants will adopt the WEF 2015 Declaration, which reflects the common vision of the education community on Education 2030, and agree on a comprehensive Framework for Action to guide and support the implementation of the future education agenda.

Closing Ceremony 4:30 pm - 6:00 pm KST, 3:30 am – 5:00 am ET

High-level representatives from governments, international development agencies, NGOs and private sector, are expected to make public commitments to implement the proposed education agenda before the forum is officially closed.

Speakers: Geeta Rao Gupta (Deputy executive director, UNICEF), Michaelle Jean (Secretary General, Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie), Georg Kell (Executive Director, UN Global Compact), Kishore Singh (UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education), Susan Hopgood (President, Education International), Hwang Woo Yea (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education, Republic of Korea), Irina Bokova (Director-General, UNESCO)


The Global Partnership for Education Secretariat is headquartered in Washington DC and has approximately 100 staff. The Secretariat provides administrative and operational support to all its partners including...

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