Singapore Conference Summary on Education
There is almost a universal consensus among experts, civil society organizations, governments and global institutions with respect to Education’s crucial role in fostering individual empowerment collective cohesion, and national as well as regional development. Also, throughout the long history of the emergence and development of social democrats and progressive movements, from labour unions, to civil society groups, and reform-minded intellectuals, Education has remained as a central advocacy. Education is a primary mechanism for empowering members and the broader citizenry, enabling organizational consolidation and coalition-building, fostering vibrant and informed debates around pressing issues in the society, and advancing socio-political consciousness against ignorance and political passivity. Despite the rapid changes in the fortunes and circumstances of progressive movements and workers groups, with many social democratic parties enmeshed in direct day-to-day governance issues, Education still continues to serve as a pillar of public advocacy and outreach -- inspiring new generations of leaders with cutting-edge ideas, guiding political mobilizations, and shaping a socially-conscious citizenry.
The 21st century – marked by the advent of information technology, simultaneous political integration-fragmentation, and intense competition -- has further underlined the significance of achieving universal literacy, promoting functional education, and pushing for cutting-edge research and innovation to not only ensure social mobility and consciousness among citizens and individuals, but also facilitate sustainable national development and international cooperation. With the Asia-Pacific region emerging as a new center of global economic activity and social dynamism, the issue of Education is of paramount importance, especially vis-à-vis sustaining a strong momentum for growth, tackling poverty, fighting corruption, and harnessing civic engagement and democratic practices. Along health and income, education is one of the key pillars of human development and security – and a pivotal element of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) under the United Nations.