With content focused on the impacts and changes caused by the sudden global spread of the new coronavirus, this year’s Summit illuminated the megatrends and showed the latest data on its effect on the social and economic situation in OECD Member countries. The participating leaders, ministers and other high representatives agreed that the event was being held at just the right time, i.e. when the whole world is facing the challenges of revitalisation and gathering strength to adapt to new, unpredictable conditions in all periods of people’s lives and work.
The event was presided over by the Slovenian Minister of Education, Science and Sport, Dr Simona Kustec. In her introductory address, she stressed that the event has opened a necessary global dialogue on common ground between all actors, not just government representatives, at all levels. Its aim is to create a new vision of integrated learning, skills development and the strengthening of values to ensure the mental and physical health of a society that includes everyone from the earliest childhood to the silver generation.
Judging from the response from the countries and international organisations that signed up for the event and consistently participated, we really have reached the top also because of its format and broadcasting of some parts via internet. By comparison, up to 20 countries cooperated at the previous two events, while this year saw as many as 33 out of 34 OECD Members participating as well as the 5 announced international organisations, meaning nearly 40 delegations from all around the world. This year’s Summit brought together countries from various parts of the world, meaning also from different time zones, as it was held from 9:00 to 13:30 CET. This means that at the end of the Summit’s programme, people in Australia and New Zealand had already gone to sleep, while at the other end of the world, in Columbia, Mexico, Chile, Costa Rica, Canada and the US, the sun was still only getting ready to rise. This was further proof that the topic and the announced discussion are extremely relevant, which was also emphasised by the participating ministers and other high representatives. This year’s Summit was also special, because its opening and final parts were publicly accessible (during the event) at the website, making it valuable also in terms of continuity and “media sustainability”.
The Prime Minister of the Republic of Slovenia, Janez Janša, and the Deputy Secretary-General of the OECD, Ulrik Vestergaard Knudsen, addressed the attendees in the introduction. The Slovenian delegation included ministers and state secretaries of the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport, the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, the Ministry of Public Administration, the Ministry of Economic Development and Technology and the Ministry of Health.
At the conclusion, the Deputy Secretary-General of the OECD summed up the importance of such cooperation. The discussion at the Summit also produced many considerations for heads of state and other high representatives that will surely have positive effects at the policy management level worldwide. As a result, the conditions for recovery, revival and opportunities to strengthen resilience in the future are going to change. All in all, the great variety of contributions and knowledge and the wealth of experience and considerations make drawing conclusions difficult.
Organising the Skills Summit is also an investment for Slovenia, not only as support for international discussions but also as support for continued inter-ministerial preparation and implementation of policies in the development and use of skills. In the international context, it is undeniably a great example of how to organise a high-level event.
Let me end with the quotes of the minister Dr Simona Kustec in Final addresses.
Dear colleagues, please allow me to end with the words by Jacques Delors (Learning: The Treasure Within, UNESCO, 1996): “We learn to know, we learn to do, we learn to live together and we learn to be,” and also to recall his thought: “I’m convinced that we need to think big again today about education.” In today’s context, this clearly comprises all levels of development and achievement of skills.
A great event is behind us. We carried it out through all-around integration, which enriches us with important learning lessons.
Ema Perme (firstname.lastname@example.org), MESS