Technical-Vocational Education Guarantees Development of World

Korea Times (Seoul, Korea), April 30, 1999 | Go to article overview

Technical-Vocational Education Guarantees Development of World


One hundred years. ago, our ancestors would not have imagined that the advent of the 20th century would lead to the most eventful era in human history:

A century that would yield the most undreamed-of technologies in communications, medicine and the conquest of space.

A century that would bring dramatic changes in the quality of our lives, especially through education and democracy. And now, as we approach the 21st century, we must not let our progress resemble a double-edged sword.

The time has come to take stock of out development as a race and to look ahead, to look beyond the mirage of victory for some, toward the horizon of peace and prosperity for all.

But peace, development and democracy can only be achieved through education, education that prepares the individual for responsible civic life and for the world of work.

Therefore, I welcome all participants and observers from more than 100 countries to the Second International Congress on Technical and Vocational Education. This congress is a land-mark event on the eve of a new century because we meet today to determine how we are to equip people to face the new challenges that the 21st century is certain to bring.

In fact, this is an opportune moment to remind ourselves that the acquisition of technical and vocational skills has been out heritage from the very beginning of recorded time.

I should like to express UNESCO's profound gratitude to the government of the Republic of Korea. The country has so generously supported out initiative to hold this international event, in spite of the financial difficulties that the country and the Asian region experienced not long ago.

I know that the country's heavy investment in education, including technical and vocational education, has been one of the decisive factors in its rapid socio-economic development during the past several decades.

I am confident that this emphasis on education will also prove critical in the economic recovery that we are currently witnessing.

Today, we are marching toward a new millennium. Peace and development are the major tasks placed upon our shoulders by the past.

In order to carry out these tasks, we cannot ignore the indispensable role of education in the improvement of the quality of life.

Education can create a culture of peace. Education can empower human beings both young and old to be effective in most spheres of activity. Education, in its essence, opens doors to both personal and societal developments.

UNESCO, as the only UN Agency specializing in education, science and culture, has been playing a leading role in promoting education throughout the world. In 1990, UNESCO, along with its partner agencies, launched ``Education for All'' in Jomtien, Thailand.

In a short period of ten years, we are proud to say that we have moved closer to the goal of providing basic education for all our children. The International Commission on Education for the 21st century, chaired by Mr. Jacques Delors, described one of the four pillars of education as ``Learning to Do.'' Since we consider technical and vocational education an essential part of ``Learning to Do,'' we feel that it is now time to make recommendations for lifelong learning and training.

It is almost universally acknowledged that the present pattern of economic development cannot continue indefinitely because of its negative impact on the environment and because it depletes our finite natural resources.

We are compelled, therefore, to adapt, sooner than later, a completely new development paradigm, which may be sustained by future generations. Education, particularly technical and vocational education, will have to play a pivotal role in achieving and sustaining such a form of development.

In many countries, higher education enjoys significant prestige in society. …

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