A PDF copy of the Director General's speech may be found here.

Mr Koïchiro Matsuura, Director General of UNESCO kicked off the proceedings by highlighting the sheer scope of the problems faced, worldwide, in education. But 'problems' is a harsh word, and throughout his speech, Mr. Matsuura emphasised not only the great previous work that UNESCO has performed, often in partnership with private sector companies (such as HP) - but also the superb opportunities for improvement that has been brought about by technology, changing attitudes and international collaboration.

Accessibility

Government budgets for education, we are warned, is continually decreasing, at a time when far more people are being given the opportunities and resources needed in order that they may gain a level of education. Distance education and 'e' learning are critical here, as they can provide a high standard of content with no per human cost, just a 'per document' cost. I recommend looking into the following report on e-learning from CEMCA.

Where physical resources are low and hard to obtain, online resources are key. Give a man a fish (textbook) and he has a fish (textbook) with which to feed (teach) one student. Give a man a net (an 'internet') and he can teach as many as have screens, or the ability to see one.

Mindmap of the speech

Success And Sustainability

Please click the picture to enlarge.

Collaboration

UNESCO has developed 6 regional conventions on the recognition of qualifications from one country, into another, which has been ratified by 100s of countries worldwide. With barriers to travel opening up, and the strong need for education to be relevant wherever a student chooses to work, this initiative is becoming ever more critical.

I'm lucky, I can work in a US company, from the UK, with a UK degree, doing my work over secure connections on the internet. Can the same be said were we to substitute 'UK' and 'USA' for any of the other multitude of countries training students of a high calibre, and hiring those to ensure future economic stability.

"UNESCO conventions are aimed at promoting the recognition of academic qualifications for academic purposes (e.g. to continue studies in a different institution)."

"At present there are 6 regional conventions on the recognition of qualifications (Africa, Arab States, Asia and Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean, and 2 European conventions) as well as 1 interregional convention (Mediterranean Convention)."

For more information and involvement, I'd recommend UNESCO's brief on their conventions.