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The Annual Gladwyn Lecture 2020

Agenda 2030: Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals - How might the Commonwealth deliver success?

Speaker: Stephen Twigg, Secretary-General, Commonwealth Parliamentary Association

Chair: Sonny Leong CBE, Chair, Council for Education in the Commonwealth

Venue: Virtual (Zoom) | Date: Wednesday, 11th November 2020 | Time: 18:00 – 20:00

One third of the world’s population live in the 54 countries of the Commonwealth. Engaging together they offer a
tremendous opportunity, offering direction and initiating approaches to help everyone achieve the ambitions of the SDGs.
The scale of this challenge was always immense, but it has been increased further by the impact of COVID-19.

This year’s Gladwyn Lecture will address the importance of the Commonwealth’s active involvement, particularly in relation
to education (SDG4) and good governance (SDG16). Stephen Twigg will focus on issues that most affect young people
across the Commonwealth. He will also consider the vital role of all parliamentarians, wherever located, in the delivery of
Agenda 2030.

In times of crisis, education is often the first thing to go – if we don’t act now, it will happen again

As of 31 August 2020, UNESCO estimates that more than 700 million learners remain affected by school closures due to Coronavirus. While the health and safety of communities is rightly a top priority for national leaders, this has had a profound impact on children’s access to education. In the UK alone, millions of children and young people were asked to learn online during school closures, yet in 2018, 700,000 11 to 18-year-olds had no computer or tablet-based internet access at home. The challenge is clear

Contingent reflections on coronavirus and priorities for educational planning and development

By Keith M Lewin, University of Sussex

The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically shifted education and development priorities. The tragic death toll and high rates of morbidity across many countries are an unprecedented setback and a calamity for those affected physically and mentally. The economic and social effects of lockdowns, loss of production and business confidence, and global recession will cast a long shadow over education systems. 

Despite the 435 million items that Google already indexes under “COVID-19 education”, many things remain unknown. No one has a clear idea of how the current pandemic will unravel over anything but the short term. The challenge is to strengthen the mechanisms to separate evidence from opinion and to balance popularism with speaking truth to power—especially when political systems can find it difficult to distinguish fact from convenient fiction.