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“Assessments are a critical pillar in ensuring quality education” says IBE Director at the World Education Forum

The second day of the World Education Forum in Korea was devoted to thematic debates in the morning and a series of parallel sessions in the afternoon - allowing participants to engage in a wide range of educational topics and issues. There is growing consensus that more focus is needed on improving the quality of education over the next 15 years.

The IBE has been involved in the identification of key points for transmission to the Drafting WEF Group and in summarizing the main issues discussed in the thematic panel, Placing quality education at the centre of lifelong learning, organized by UNESCO. “Assessments are a critical pillar in ensuring quality,” said Mmantseta Marope, Director of the UNESCO International Bureau of Education, in this session.


The following key messages emerged from the session:

  • Education quality is a global movement, a state of being and a socially determined concept that should be facilitated by inter-cultural sharing and dialogue. The concept is progressive, temporal, evolves with time and according to context, and can be understood from the perspectives of multiple stakeholders - citizens, learners, teachers, parents and the community. Sustaining a conversation among these stakeholders at different levels on the essential competencies to succeed in life is critical. Importantly, the voices of children/learners and teachers must be heard and should inform the policy conversation around the quality of education.
  • Any definition of quality should be respectful of local and national circumstances, contexts and languages, and have a forward-looking perspective.
  • Ensuring quality of education is about developing a holistic and systemic approach that pays attention to inclusion, equity and resource efficiency, and that is customized to national and local contexts, addressing particular contextual impediments.
  • Finally, quality should not be narrowly defined by the measurement of learning outcomes in certain areas and disciplines; single assessment instruments will not be enough. If assessments are well designed, used for educational purposes, appropriate both to the level of the education system assessed and to the context, they can play an important role in supporting the quest for quality.
  • Emphasis in the classroom should be on continuous and formative assessments, and teachers should be clear on the purpose of any assessment, so as to support learners in their learning progression.


In the afternoon, the IBE participated in Parallel Session 1, Expanding the vision: youth and adult literacy within a lifelong learning perspective. This session on literacy drew together Education Ministers from Egypt, Mongolia and Niger, as well as representatives from UNESCO. It looked at the issues that contribute to low levels of literacy - a global concern that includes middle and high income countries: worldwide, some 781 million adults, two-thirds of whom are women, are unable to read and write.


On Wednesday 21 May 2015, the IBE will lead a WEF Side Event on "Repositioning Curriculum in Education Quality & Development-Relevance".


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