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Global Education Monitoring Report 2023: UNESCO

  • 28 Jul 2023
  • 5 min read

For Prelims: Global Education Monitoring Report 2023, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, Covid-19 Pandemic, SDG (Sustainable Development Goals) 4.

For Mains: Global Education Monitoring Report 2023.

Source: TH

Why in News?

Recently, the UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) has released the Global Education Monitoring Report 2023, titled ‘Technology in Education: A Tool on Whose Terms’ endorsed ban on smartphones in schools where technology integration does not improve learning.

What are the Key Highlights of the Report?

  • Rationale for Restricting Smartphone Usage:
    • The report highlighted that “mere proximity to a mobile device was found to distract students and to have a negative impact on learning in 14 countries, yet less than one in four have banned smartphone use in schools.
    • It cited a study of young people between the age 2 and 17 years which showed that higher screen time was associated with poorer well-being; less curiosity, self-control and emotional stability; higher anxiety; and depression diagnoses.
  • Inequity in Access:
    • During the Covid-19 Pandemic, the rapid shift to online learning left out at least half a billion students worldwide, disproportionately affecting the poorest and those in rural areas.
  • Limited Adaptation of Digital Technology:
    • The fast pace of technological change puts strain on education systems to adapt.
    • Digital literacy and critical thinking skills are crucial, especially with the growth of generative AI.
    • However, adaptation efforts are still in progress, with only a limited number of countries having defined skills and curricula for AI.
  • Data Privacy:
    • Children’s data are being exposed, yet only 16% of countries explicitly guarantee data privacy in education by law.
      • One analysis found that 89% of 163 education technology products recommended during the pandemic could survey children.
      • Further, 39 of 42 governments providing online education during the pandemic fostered uses that risked or infringed on children’s rights.
  • Consideration of Costs:
    • Many countries ignore the long-term financial implications of technology purchases, and the EdTech market continues to expand while basic education needs remain unmet.
    • Technology is often brought to plug a gap, with no view to the long-term costs for national budgets.
      • The cost of moving to basic digital learning in low-income countries and connecting all schools to the internet in lower-middle-income countries would add 50% to their current financing gap for achieving national SDG (Sustainable Development Goals) 4 targets.

What are the Recommendations?

  • There is a need for rigorous and impartial evidence of technology's effectiveness in learning. Policymakers need to have reliable evidence to make informed decisions about technology integration in education.
  • Technology should enhance learning experiences and support the well-being of students and teachers rather than replace in-person, teacher-led instruction.
  • The right to education is increasingly tied to meaningful connectivity, and it calls for setting benchmarks to connect all schools to the internet by 2030, with a focus on reaching marginalized communities.
  • While technology offers potential benefits in education, it is essential to consider the long-term costs.

What is UNESCO?

  • UNESCO is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN). It seeks to build peace through international cooperation in Education, the Sciences and Culture.
  • It is also a member of the United Nations Sustainable Development Group (UNSDG), a coalition of UN agencies and organizations aimed at fulfilling the SDGs.
  • UNESCO’s Headquarters are located in Paris and the Organization has more than 50 field offices around the world.
  • It has 194 Members and 12 Associate Members and is governed by the General Conference and the Executive Board.
    • Three UNESCO member states are not UN members: Cook Islands, Niue, and Palestine.
    • While two UN member states (Israel, Liechtenstein) are not UNESCO members.
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