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Hello, this is Kasmira. After Covid's devastating impact on learning across the world, the UN is hoping to rally new commitments from leaders at the General Assembly on Monday to reboot their education systems. However, attention may be firmly focused elsewhere as heads of state prepare to gather in London for Queen Elizabeth II's state funeral.

Plus, we look back at important discussions on addiction and recovery that took place at a Geneva health festival making strides in destigmatising mental health issues.

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Kasmira Jefford


Leaders to unite to tackle ‘global learning crisis’

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Indian students study in a makeshift school running under a metro bridge in New Delhi, India, 21 January 2022. (Credit: Keystone/EPA)

September marked the beginning of a new school year for many countries around the globe but inequalities in access to education, exacerbated by Covid, armed conflicts and other humanitarian crises, are still keeping some 244 million children out of school, according to UNESCO.

In a joint report released this week ahead of a summit being held at the General Assembly, the United Nations’s cultural agency warned that countries are still responding too slowly to a “global learning crisis” that emerged long before the Covid pandemic brought more disruption to the classroom.

“We are very, very concerned by the increased numbers of children out of school, and the gap between the expectations of where children are supposed to be in their learning and where indeed they are,” Robert Jenkins, education director at UNICEF, which collaborated on the report, told journalists in Geneva.

The Transforming Education Summit, held over three days from 17-19 September, will aim to rally world leaders to make renewed national commitments to overhauling their education systems and meeting the UN’s 2030 Agenda of making education accessible to all.

“In theory, the national commitments that would be delivered by the heads of states will be based on the outcomes of the national consultations that took place over the last four months,” said Maki Katsuno-Hayashikawa, executive secretary of the summit secretariat at UNESCO.

However, with Queen Elizabeth II’s state funeral also taking place on Monday, there are worries that less heads of state will attending the so-called Leaders Day when commitments will be announced, she said, potentially diluting outcomes of the summit.

Read the full article on Geneva Solutions

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Talking about mental health recovery in Switzerland. When mental health specialist Eliane Bovitutti began working with addiction patients, she had to rethink her approach to the patient-caregiver relationship. Bovitutti is executive director of the mental health cluster at Fondation de l’Orme in Lausanne, an institution specialising in supporting mental health recovery. At Taking Care Together, a health festival held in Geneva earlier this year, she shared personal insight from working in the health sphere and began a dialogue on addiction and recovery.

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