MANILA, November 17, 2020 – Along with government officials, international aid agencies, education and humanitarian experts, policy makers, teachers and learners, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the Department of Education (DepEd) will launch the 2020 Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report on November 25, 2020

With the theme “Inclusion and education: All means All,” the national launch aims to increase awareness of the Report’s messages and recommendations on inclusion in education with the wider education community, with those working on humanitarian responses, and with government officials and policy makers.

“To rise to the challenges of our time, a move towards more inclusive education is imperative. Rethinking the future of education is all the more important following the [threat of the] COVID-19 pandemic, which further widened and put a spotlight on inequalities. Failure to act will hinder the progress of societies,” UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay said in a statement.

As part of its progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4) and its targets, the 2020 GEM Report will provide an in-depth analysis of key factors excluding learners in education systems worldwide, such as background, identity and ability (i.e. gender, age, location, poverty, disability, ethnicity, indigeneity, language, religion, migration or displacement status, sexual orientation or gender identity expression, incarceration, beliefs and attitudes).

One of the numerous examples highlighted in the report is the gender-responsive basic education policy created by DepEd, where it has called for an end to discrimination based on gender, sexual orientation and gender identity by defining ways for education administrators and school leaders, including improving curricula and teacher education programmes with the content on bullying, discrimination, gender, sexuality and human rights.

The Report will also identify the heightening of exclusion during the COVID-19 pandemic, where it has shown that about 40% of low and lower-middle income countries have not supported disadvantaged learners during temporary school shutdown.

“COVID-19 has given us a real opportunity to think afresh about our education systems, but moving to a world that values and welcomes diversity would not happen overnight. There is an obvious tension between teaching all children under the same roof and creating an environment where students learn best…there is scope to do things differently if we put our minds to it.” GEM Report Director Manos Antoninis said.

Featuring speeches and presentations from experts on inclusion from both government and non-governmental organizations, policy makers and practitioners, the event will also spotlight a live discussion between DepEd Secretary Leonor Magtolis-Briones and UNESCO Jakarta Representative and Director Dr. Shahbaz Khan, where they will explore the findings of the report and deliberate progress in education and inclusion in the Philippines.

Alongside today’s publication, UNESCO GEM Report team has also launched a new website called Profiles Enhancing Education Reviews (PEER) that contains information on laws and policies concerning inclusion in education for every country in the world. According to UNESCO, PEER shows that although many countries still practice education segregation, which reinforces stereotyping, discrimination and alienation, some countries like the Philippines have already crafted education policies strong on inclusiveness that target vulnerable groups.

The 2020 Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report urges countries to focus on those left behind as schools reopen so as to foster more resilient and equal societies.