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An Education Section was established with the formation of UNESCO in 1945 and education-related projects commenced in 1946. The section has evolved and expanded since to become what is now the Education Sector (ED) of UNESCO. The Education Section of UNESCO was first referred to as “Sector” in 1967. The gradual evolution of the organizational structure of the sector historically occurred on an annual to biennial basis, often reflecting particular themes or focuses of the sector at the time. As of 2016, the sector encompasses the following divisions: Divisions for Policies and Lifelong Learning Systems; Division for Inclusion, Peace and Sustainable Development; Division for Education 2030 Support and Coordination; Executive Office; Global Education Monitoring Report Team. The Education Sector further encompasses 53 field offices around the world, along with six institutes and two centres, including: the International Bureau of Education (IBE); International Institute for Education Planning (IIEP); UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL); Institute for Information Technologies in Education (IITE); International Institute for Higher Education in Latin American and the Caribbean (IESALC); International Institute for Capacity Building in Africa (IICBA); Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development (MGIEP); International Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (UNESCO-UNEVOC) and the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS).
The Education Sector is at the core of UNESCO operations and, accordingly, is the largest sector in the organization. The Sector adheres to the institutional mission to promote peace and the universal right to education. Shortly following UNESCO’s formation, in 1946 the purposes of the sector were noted as twofold, to provide a minimum standard level of education for all, and to remove illiteracy. The campaign against illiteracy and promotion of universal education both continue to be primary focuses of the Education Sector. Other campaigns directed by the Education Sector include, refugee and migrant education programs, adult education programs, guidance on teaching methods and materials, research into educational activities, promotion of international understanding and peace, equal educational opportunities and primary education. The Education Sector also implemented a number of programs over the years in response to emergencies or special circumstances, often specific to a particular region, such as field assistance for refugees from Arab states and a 1950 program to aid “war-handicapped children” following the aftermath of World War II. In more recent times, at the World Education Forum in Dakar in 2000, 164 member states pledged to achieve Education For All and identified six goals to be met by 2015, an initiative eventually coordinated by the Sector's EFA International Coordination Team.
As of July 2019, the Education Sector is focused on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 4, Quality Education, which “ensure[s] inclusive and equitable quality education and promote[s] lifelong learning opportunities for all.”
Immediate source of acquisition or transfer
Direct transfer of all records from the sector to the archives.
Content and structure area
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Official dossiers coming from the Sector for Education and its predecessors.
Appraisal, destruction and scheduling
Continuous accruals by transfer from the Sector.
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Description control area
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Revised by AWT 20/04/2011. EDV added by AWT 26/03/2013. Administrative history created by Arianna Shorey, 5 July 2019.