In 2013 when Alliance Educational Foundation gathered international thought leaders to launch its International Colloquium on Education in Malakara, Kerala, Dr. Huma Masood, Programme Officer for Gender of UNESCO, was among its inaugural group of distinguished guests.
Returning for this year’s Ninth International Colloquium, July 31-August 2, at the request of UNESCO/India Director Eric Falt, Dr. Masood was a featured speaker at this year’s Colloquium which focused on education for entrepreneurship and life skills. In an address to the Colloquium Valedictory Session, Dr. Masood spoke of the “curriculum of the future” that inculcates values such as mutual respect, tolerance, inclusivity and most importantly, equality, along with life skills such as leadership, critical thinking, and communication ability.
Dr. Masood also noted the adverse impact of the pandemic on education. “The worldwide closure of schools has placed immense pressure on an educational system that was already unequal,” she said. While education shifted online for many, “for others, education completely stopped.” She cited UNESCO’s efforts at global monitoring of the effects of the pandemic and its development of digital tools, concluding with the reminder that “Education is not a privilege but a basic human right.”