Yogyakarta, 16 March 2022 – Chair of G20 Education Working Group (EdWG) Dr. Iwan Syahril stated that through the G20 Education Working Group, Indonesia invites the world to support each other in rebuilding the education system. This is to prepare a future generation who are resilient in responding to challenges and answering the demands of global development.
“Through the Education Working Group, Indonesia is leading the global movement to reimagine and rebuild the education system as our commitment to achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, in full spirit to emerge stronger and start a new chapter,” said Dr. Syahril in his opening remarks for the first G20 EdWG meeting on Wednesday (16/3) in Yogyakarta.
He further explained that inequality in accessing quality education and students unpreparedness to face the workforce are some of the issues that the world has been facing for the past decades, and the pandemic has exacerbated it by widening the socioeconomic gaps and bringing significant changes to the education system.
The Director General of Teachers and Education Personnel of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Research and Technology of the Republic of Indonesia emphasized the value of ‘gotong royong’ or supporting each other to reach a common goal should be done immediately. “The very fact that the pandemic has affected almost every country, every single person in the world, calls for a stronger collective global leadership. All of us are doing ‘gotong royong’ as a global movement,” said Dr. Syahril.
“It is high time we must act now, since our children can no longer wait for their schools to reopen, to continue suffering from learning loss because they cannot afford internet access, nor live in fear to face the future,” added Dr. Syahril. He also stressed that “Learning loss is not only about missing classes or failing an exam. It is about children losing their passions to learn, about young people feeling unsure of themselves, about leaders of tomorrow who do not dare to dream.”
During the session on Quality Education for All, Gianluca Grandi as Troika Co-Chair from Italy, expressed his appreciation to Indonesia for continuing the work developed together during the Italian presidency.
Other delegates attending the first meeting of the G20 EdWG also expressed their support for the priority agendas, including Universal Quality Education. Adrian Veale, Policy Officer and Directorate-General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture for the European Commission acknowledged that the EdWG G20 agenda is the right moment to convey the role of the education sector, in which a holistic approach is needed to ensure that no one is left behind.
“We need to explore the topic of solidarity in the spirit of ‘Gotong Royong’ as you [Mr. Iwan Syahril] said. We need a mix of policies that we can explore in the other sessions of our Working Group today and tomorrow. We look forward to these sessions and the role that we can play in developing these policies,” said Adrian.
The first day of the G20 EdWG meeting discussed the first priority agenda, Quality Education for All, followed by the second priority agenda, Digital Technology in Education. The EdWG meeting attended in-person by 27 delegates from South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, France, Singapore, Spain, United Arab Emirates, World Bank, UNESCO, and UNICEF. 64 delegates from the United States, Netherlands, United Kingdom, India, Italy, Japan, Germany, Cambodia (as ASEAN Chair), Canada, South Korea, Mexico, Turkey, European Union and OECD attended virtually.