On January 25th, 2021 the world celebratesthe International Day of Education recognising the primary role of education for peace and sustainable development of societies. The 2020 theme was “Learning for people, planet, prosperity and peace”, clearly affirming the centrality of education to human well-being and global sustainability. The 2021 theme is, obviously related to the pandemic situation, ‘Recover and Revitalize Education for the COVID-19 Generation’. The closure of schools and other learning institutions has affected the lives of 1.6 billion students in over 190 countries. The pandemic has amplified social, economic and digital inequalities, putting a generation at risk of a learning catastrophe.
According to UNESCO, promoter of the International Day, education is not only a fundamental right, a public good and a powerful tool in order to meet the Agenda 2030 goals but “humanity’s greatest renewable resource”. In these difficult circumstances, the aim is to transform this big loss in an opportunity to make education more resilient, adaptive and widespread all around the world.
If in the last decades, general progress and improvement in increasing access to education have been made: the 2019 ASVIS Report highlighted a positive trend for meeting GOAL 4 in Europe but also persistent gaps in several regions of the continent and within the countries now it’s the time to restart, stronger and together.
The role of tourism in ensuring the quality of education in this post-Covid world
In the old globalized world - with reduced barriers to trade and travel - sustainable tourism and global exchange could boost the development of positive values among people such as inclusiveness, tolerance, respect and peace. But still many areas of the world were unprepared to meet tourists’ needs, deal with potential touristic issues and develop a strategic, sustainable, integrated tourist and cultural offer. Covid-19 crisis, that have hit hard so many countries all around the world, has amplified this situation. Meanwhile, all of us are wondering what future tourism will be like. Now more than ever it’s essential to improve training and collaboration and to put young generation needs at the top of the list.
In this regard, UNWTO stresses the importance of well trained and skilful workforce to develop tourism and affirm the contribution of the sector towards goal 4: it “…can provide incentives to invest in education and vocational training and assist labor mobility through cross-border agreements on qualifications, standards and certifications”.
CROSSDEV contribution to quality education and lifelong learning
Over the last decades, tourism has become one of the fastest growing economic sectors in the world and a key driver for socio-economic progress of the countries. The cultural richness of the Mediterranean area and its unique history and environmental heritage made it the perfect tourist destination. According to a research issued by Aston University in 2012 “the Mediterranean region, including both the northern and southern shores, is the principal tourist destination in the world”. Nevertheless today, in 2021, still involved in the pandemic crisis, we are facing an unexpected worldwide issue. Tourism is frozen, and the future is still uncertain.
CROSSDEV implementation areas also face other barriers to a consistent development of sustainable tourism. Political changes and instability, weak levels of education, lack of managing strategies and innovation often prevent regions from achieving their full potential.
For these reasons, CROSSDEV is promoting capacity-building actions to raise awareness and develop and strengthen their participants’ skills. The project’s partners are involved in workshops focused on cooperation and sustainable managing strategies and many other initiatives for the development of participants’ personal and professional competences.
Despite the current precarious situation and the unpredictable future, CROSSDEV will keep working towards education, aware of the extraordinary power of learning, cooperation and sustainability to overcome socio-economic stress.
UNESCO: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. It seeks to build peace through international cooperation in Education, the Sciences and Culture. UNESCO's programmes contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals defined in Agenda 2030, adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2015.
UNWTO: United Nation World Tourism Organisation is the UN specialized agency responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism. It includes 158 countries, 6 territories and over 500 affiliate members.
ASVIS: The Italian Alliance for Sustainable Development was established in 2016. Its aim is to raise the awareness of the Italian society, economic stakeholders and institutions about the importance of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and to mobilize them in order to pursue the SDGs.
The following article has been written for and firstly published on CROSSDEV Project website.
Photo by Tom Wang, Shutterstock.