The Slovenia Times

Slovenia co-hosts UN event on digital skills


New York - Slovenia co-hosted an event on the sidelines of the UN Transforming Education Summit in New York on Saturday that focused on digital skills in learning and teaching. The event was held in the run-up to the general debate opening the 77th session of the UN General Assembly which will also hear an address by President Borut Pahor.

The UN Transforming Education Summit got under way on Friday to hear calls for increasing investment in education and for governments to take action to reverse the devastating impact that the Covid-19 pandemic had on children and youth worldwide.

The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) has pointed out that today only one out of three children worldwide have the basic skills to read or understand a simple written story by the age of 10, which is half the figure before the coronavirus pandemic broke out in early 2020.

More than 100 leaders handed a letter to the summit proposing a pact between underdeveloped and developed countries to allow underdeveloped countries to spend between 4% and 6% of their GDP on education, as the world today is far from the development goal of universal education by 2030.

The education summit is being held mostly without world's leaders, who are gathering in London for the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II.

One of the topics discussed is digital learning and transformation. Solutions were also being sought at a side event on digital skills, which Slovenia co-organised with the Council of Europe, UNICEF and Greece.

The event was aimed to share experiences of digital education in Europe and take a look at aspects of human rights, democracy and the rule of law.

Slovenia's Ambassador to the UN Boštjan Malovrh presented the country's experiences, noting some of the documents and action plans to coordinate digital education, as well as a new teaching programme that integrates computer science along with a support system.

The ambassador listed Slovenia's achievements in artificial intelligence (AI) research since the 1970s and the AI for Teachers project, a key part of which is ethics in education in relation to AI.

He noted that the first UNESCO International Research Centre for AI was established at the Jožef Stefan Institute in Ljubljana in 2020, and the events it holds with the Slovenian Mission to the UN. "The Centre makes an important contribution to the UN's development goals by creating the world's largest platform for the search for sustainable solutions," said Malovrh.

"We need to ensure that AI is open, transparent and accountable. We also need to ensure that we work together to develop education that is global and accessible so that students can become true digital citizens," the ambassador added.

The general debate of the 77th session of the UN General Assembly featuring global leaders will get under way on Tuesday. President Borut Pahor is expected to address the event on Wednesday.

Slovenia, which will also be represented at the meetings by Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon, will officially launch the campaign to promote its bid for a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council in 2024-2025 in New York on Monday, 26 September.


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