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Rome Reports

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Pope launches Global Compact on Education, calls for universal access to quality education

Pope Francis has once again proposed transforming education into a “creator of fraternity, peace and justice.” He did this in a video message prepared for a conference on the Global Compact on Education. The event was hosted by the Vatican at the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome.

“The goal of this educational investment, grounded in a network of humane and open relationships, is to ensure that everyone has access to a quality education consonant with the dignity of the human person and our common vocation to fraternity.”

In his video message, the pope invited global leaders, institutions and educators to “leave behind superficial approaches to education” focused only on “utility, (standardized) test results, functionality and bureaucracy.”

“[These] confuse education with instruction and end up atomizing our cultures. Instead, we should aim to impart an integral, participatory and polyhedral culture.”

The pope offered seven key points for the future of education. These were respecting human dignity; listening to young people; promoting women's education; recognizing the importance of the family in education; including the vulnerable and marginalized; finding new ways of understanding the economy and politics; and protecting the environment.

Among the speakers were the Director-General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay, who said education is a common good that should be a catalyst for peace and solidarity; and the prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education, Card. Giuseppe Versaldi, who seconded the pope's call for a new cultural model.

Gathering global leaders and experts from all sectors, this event was the pope's most ambitious for 2020, but it had been postponed because of the pandemic.