On 27 November 2019, the 40th session of the UNESCO General Conference finished its work in Paris, France. The General Conference is the most important event in the UNESCO’s calendar. It happens every two years for over two-weeks attended by 193 Member States and Associate Members. The Conference determines the policies and the main lines of work of UNESCO, sets the programmes and the budget of the Organization.
During the General Conference, a rich programme of events has taken place with presentations and debates on key issues in each of UNESCO’s fields of competence: Education, Science, and Culture, as well as Information and Communication. As regards to Education, the General Conference reaffirmed the UNESCO’s role in coordinating and monitoring progress towards the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda’s Goal for education, SDG 4, among which was UNESCO Strategy for Youth and Adult Literacy. The organization’s role in the implementation of SDG 4, the Draft Programme and Budget for 2020-2021 were approved. The Conference also proclaimed an International Day against Violence and Bullying at School, including Cyberbullying, which will be celebrated for the first time in 2020, on the first Thursday of November every year.
The Director of the UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education (UNESCO IITE) Mr. Tao Zhan and the Chair of the IITE Governing Board Dr. Mansoor Al Awar took part in all major events of the Education Sector within the General Conference. Dr. Al Awar presented a Report by the Governing Board of the UNESCO IITE on the activities of the Institute for 2018-2019. The report provided an outline of the Institute’s activities in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and ICT competency for teachers and schools, ICT in HIV and Health education, Innovative Pedagogy under digital transformation of Education to foster the use of information and communication technologies in education. Dr. Al Awar highlighted the impact of the Medium-Term Strategy of IITE (2018-2021) and Resource Mobilization Strategy adopted at its 17th and 18th sessions in 2018 and 2019.