On September 5, G20 education ministers met virtually online. China’s education minister Chen Baosheng attended the meeting and introduced China’s exploration and practices in three areas: early childhood education, internationalization in education, and COVID-19 prevention in the field of education.
Chen said, “The current pandemic is possibly the greatest social cataclysm in a century, bringing great threat and challenge to the whole of humanity. As Chinese president Xi Jinping pointed out, human history tells us that, whether in good or bad circumstances, joining forces to work for mutual benefit is the only right choice.” He noted that the Chinese government was increasing investment in supporting the development of preschool institutions in the relatively impoverished areas of middle and west China and improving teacher workforce capacity, to align with the overall objective of providing public and universal quality preschool education. By the end of 2020, gross kindergarten enrollment in the country was poised to reach 85% with coverage of universal kindergartens accounting for 80% of the total. Chen added that China would strengthen and expand international exchanges in the field of education. He also introduced measures against the pandemic in China’s education system, including enhancing synergy between online and offline education, health education and emergency responses, as well as ensuring orderly school reopening.
Chen underscored the common goal shared by G20 members in education despite their different national conditions: providing equitable and quality education to all children, to help them achieve their dreams. He further proposed three measures that could be taken to move towards that goal. First, global governance should be enhanced and the efforts of multiple actors pooled to focus on common issues in education development across the world. Second, education reform should be furthered by turning challenges presented by the current crisis into opportunities, to promote the integration of new technologies in education. Third, vulnerable and marginalized groups needed to be supported and the digital divide bridged to ensure equitable learning environments.
G20 Education Ministerial Meeting is the highest-level meeting held by G20 members in the field of education. The current meeting was attended by the education ministers of G20 members and some invited countries and representatives from international organizations. Member countries discussed and shared experiences in the three identified areas of education continuity in times of crises, early childhood education, and internationalization in education. As the outcome of the meeting, a Ministerial Communiqué was adopted and will be submitted to G20 Summit.