The 42nd Session of the General Conference of the UNESCO adopted on Nov. 9 (Paris time) the resolution to establish the UNESCO International Institute for STEM Education (IISTEM) as a UNESCO category 1 Institute in Shanghai, China. This Institute will be the first of its kind to be established in China.
The draft resolution was reviewed by the Education Commission of the UNESCO. During deliberations on this issue, many members provided their comments, setting a record for the highest number of members speaking on a single agenda item at the UNESCO General Conference. Members thanked China for submitting the proposal on the establishment of a new category 1 Institute in Shanghai. They recognized it as a generous endorsement of UNESCO’s work, an important response to the challenges brought by the global technology revolution, and a key step towards fulfilling the Education 2030 Agenda. They expressed appreciation for the work by the UNESCO Secretariat and unanimous support for the draft resolution. The chair then announced the adoption of the resolution, which was met with warm applause.
Chinese Education Minister and Head of Chinese Delegation Huai Jinpeng delivered a speech following the adoption of the resolution. He said that the resolution represented members’ great vision and willingness to work together on issues concerning the future. He noted that the establishment of the Institute would have a positive impact on UNESCO’s leadership, the realization of its mission and the facilitation of a global education reform. He said that China appreciated the attention and the high-quality, efficient work of the UNESCO Secretariat and thanked all countries, organizations, and individuals who had provided wisdom and assistance for the establishment of the Institute. China would fully cooperate with the Secretariat to implement the resolution and support the Secretariat in the preparations for the establishment of the Institute to ensure its early operation. He added that the Commission’s resolution marked a new beginning for advancing STEM education, and the IISTEM was expected to gather global wisdom and resources, propelling STEM education to new heights and contributing to the achievement of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. Huai’s speech received enthusiastic applause.
IISTEM constitutes an integral part of UNESCO. It is the tenth category 1 Institute established by UNESCO globally, and also the first category 1 Institute of its kind established outside of Europe and the Americas. Its main functions include promoting inclusive, equitable, relevant, and quality STEM education for all from early childhood to adulthood, and serving as an information exchange center, a network hub, a resource base, and a capacity-building focal point in the field of STEM education. The Institute will cater to UNESCO’s strategies and the needs of member states, aiming to contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development Agenda as well as world peace and development.