The 7th GCE World Assembly
The 7th GCE World Assembly: Reflections and Collective Action Moving Forward
The Global Campaign for Education (GCE) held its 7th World Assembly on November 22–24, 2022, in Johannesburg, South Africa. The 7th GCE World Assembly convened over 200 delegates from over 130 countries, comprising representatives from grassroots organisations, teachers’ unions, children’s and youth rights organisations, NGOs, parent associations, youth and student groups, and community groups.
Action emerging from the 7th GCE World Assembly includes renewed GCE governance structures and a collective commitment to overcome exclusion, discrimination, and the impoverishment of education around the world, including strengthening youth and student involvement. Outcomes and recommendations were highlighted in the 7th GCE World Assembly political statement and press release. Check out Highlights in Pictures, and members' Reflections ahead of the Assembly.
Policy Resolutions Outcomes
The 7th GCE World Assembly was an opportune time and space for members to discuss and adopt viable policies and mobilise concrete commitments to implement the policies aligned with the strategy. The following policies (resolutions) were adopted:
1. Follow up on the Transforming Education Summit
2. Role of education technology in education
3. Quality Climate Education for All
4. Comprehensive Sexuality Education
5. Comprehensive School Safety Framework 2022-2030
7. Protecting Students as Human Rights Activists
8. Adult learning education and Marrakech Framework of Action
9. GCE to Priorities Anti-Racist Education
11. Austerity and Public Sector Wage Bill Constraints
Policy resolutions are available here.
During the 7th GCE World Assembly, Section 9.1, Articles vii and viii, were amended. The amendments carried out are available Here and the updated constitution can be accessed here.
During the 7th World Assembly, the following themes were proposed for the Global Action Week for Education, based on the organisation’s strategic plan. These themes were selected through an online survey.
2023: Decolonising education financing.
2024: Transformative education.
2025: Education in emergencies.
2026: Digital learning and transformation.
A campaign advisory group will be convened to discuss the 2023 theme, set timelines and deliverables for members led by the Secretariat.
Youth and Student-led Initiatives Exhibition
The voices and experiences of youth and students were at the forefront of the official opening session of the 7th GCE World Assembly through the exhibition of youth- and student-led initiatives from the GCE regional constituencies from Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and the Caribbean, Europe and North America, as well as Asia and the Pacific regions. Some key highlights from the youth and student initiatives included the work carried out to support Afro-descent people in Mexico to liberate the marginalised and excluded groups in Mexico, the role of Africans in inclusive and transformative education in Cameroon, and some reflections on the lack of access to reflective platforms for young people. Read More.
Summary of Day One
Comprised the official opening address by GCE President Refat Sabbah. This day also included speeches by high-level political representatives, including the Minister of Basic Education-South Africa, Ms Angie Motshekga, Deputy Secretary General of the UN, Ms Amina Mohammed; SADTU President, Mr Magope Maphila, GCE Youth and Student activist, Ms Diana Ayala, and a keynote address by the Special Advisor to the Secretary-General on Transforming Education, Mr Leonardo Garnier.
Thematic areas for policy forum group discussion focused on transforming public education systems, decolonising education financing and aid to education, gender, inclusion and intersectionality and digital learning and transformation. Read More. Watch Livestream Here. Access the Discussion Papers Here.
Summary of Day Two
Commenced with speeches by high-level political representatives, Yasmine Sherif, ECW Director, and Charles North, GPE Interim Chief Executive Officer. Policy forum group discussions focused on transforming public education systems, decolonising education financing and aid to education, and gender, inclusion, and intersectionality.
This day also included the announcement of new GCE Board members, the presentation and discussion of the GCE draft strategic plan, and the announcement of the GCE presidential election candidates (Refat Sabbah was re-elected as the GCE President). Read More. Refat’s speech after re-elections.
Summary of Day Three
Comprised the integration of input around the GCE Strategic Plan 2023–2027, the presentation of the financial report, and kick-starting policy motion debate and adoption. Read More.
Speeches by High-Level Political Representatives
“After 23 years, we know that the GCE has always prevailed during times of greatest adversity, because our work is inspired by the struggle of the marginalised, the dispossessed, and those who suffer violence and discrimination." "We have built bridges with the stones thrown at our comrades, and we respond to hate speech and intolerance with the reasons raised by women and youth, people with disabilities, and children.” Refat Sabbah, President of the Global Campaign for Education
Read the speech Here.
“ …the current education system is clearly not educating learners about the climate and ecological emergencies for a world that is more socially just, equitable, and embracing of diversity in all its forms... What is needed is a complete and radical transformation of schooling and the wider education system so that education can be transformative once again.” Ms Angie Motshekga, Minister of Basic Education (South Africa)
Read the speech Here.
“Teachers should continue their professional development upon recruitment through a period of induction into the profession with the support of a mentor and should have access throughout their careers to high quality continuous professional development and learning. These opportunities should be provided by the State at no cost to individual teachers. The teaching and learning environment should be designed in such a way that it supports teachers and education employees in their missions. The State should provide the necessary infrastructure and resources to cater for this environment.” Magope Maphila, President of South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU)
Read the speech Here.
Diana stressed the importance of creating opportunities and spaces for youth and student participation, emphasising that youth and students want their voices heard when policies are developed, and budgets are developed and implemented. She further indicated that the 7th GCE World Assembly offered much space and opportunities for youth and student engagement. "Today is the time to advocate for these spaces; it is also the time for youth and students to understand their roles, and... we do not need to represent our personal interests, but the voices of all, and we must work together in solidarity to address the issues that we see every day." "If we understand solidarity, we have understood everything.” Diana Ayala, GCE Youth and Student Activist
"Even though access to education is getting better, the basic human right to education is still being denied to hundreds of millions of children, young people, and adults." We are in 2022, the third decade of the 21st century, and how is it possible that we still have hundreds of millions of children, youth, and adults who are not accessing the fundamental right to education? This is the first reason why we should reimagine, rethink, and transform education.” Dr Sobhi Tawil, Futures for Education Director (UNESCO)
Read the speech Here.
“In order to achieve sustainable development, … countries must transform education, but in turn, in order to transform education, they must also break free from perverse poverty traps and race to the bottom strategies. Every country needs and deserves a good education for its people – all of its people. Every country needs and deserves a just and sustainable development.” Dr Leonardo Garnier, Special Advisor to the Secretary-General on Transforming Education Summit (United Nations)
Read the speech Here.
“We must empower teachers to become agents of change and transform how society values the profession." "We must also harness digital education for the benefit of public education by unlocking the three keys of digital learning; connectivity, capacity, and content.” Amina J Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General, United Nations
“The mission of the... Global Fund for Education is approved to cater to over 222 million children and youth who are affected by armed conflicts, natural disasters, and forced displacement, and whose education is disrupted as a result." "Access to an inclusive quality education in humanitarian crises is a right; it's a right for every child, and it's also life-sustaining and life-saving.” Yasmine Sherif, ECW Director
“To ensure that every child gains a quality education, UNICEF is very much with you." It's never been more important, as we are all aware. The world is in the throes of a global learning crisis, which has been further exacerbated by the impact COVID has had, resulting in school closures. "We know that nearly 90% of 10-year-olds in Sub-Saharan Africa, as an example, are now unable to read and acquire foundational learning, and that is a critical example of how important it is for us to advance our efforts in ensuring that education is a human right for all.” Rob Jenkins, Education & Adolescent Development, UNICEF
“We have a mutual responsibility to act with urgency and to act in a collaborative way, strengthening the bridges between civil society, youth movements, governments and multilateral organisations both regionally and globally.” Stefania Giannini, Assistant Director General for Education, UNESCO
“We must transform education systems for more effective learning to address the needs of the most marginalised and to meet the challenges of a rapidly changing world.” Charles North, Interim Chief Executive Officer, GPE