Inclusion is central to the UNESCO Learning City of Groningen
‘In our municipality we must admit that the family you grow up in determines the opportunities you get in life,’ says Carine Bloemhoff, Deputy Mayor of Groningen, Netherlands. ‘We want to change that. Together we want to work on social inclusion trough education.’
The city of Groningen is one of more than 170 active members of the UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities (GNLC) putting lifelong learning at the heart of its municipality. The city will join the celebration of International Day of Education on 24 January 2020 by bringing together local partners in government, education and entrepreneurship to discuss inclusion, equal opportunities and lifelong learning and share ideas on how to achieve common goals.
Groningen has a highly diverse population. Approximately 200,000 inhabitants from different cultural and socio-economic backgrounds live together in the Dutch city close to the North Sea. Social equality is key to the cities development. However, inequalities based on income and the education levels of the parents have increased significantly over the past years. ‘Together with educational professionals we want to fight this segregation,’ explains Deputy Mayor Bloemhoff.
Through an Equal Opportunities Alliance the city has made considerable strides towards inclusive education from early childhood onwards. Ensuring equal opportunities for all across different educational levels by supporting the disadvantaged through funding and mediation programmes has proven a promising track.
Bloemhoff concludes: ‘A proper education is essential for all in Groningen. That is why we joined the UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities!’ The network will continue to benefit from the lifelong learning experiences of Groningen but equally inspire new initiatives in the Dutch city based on the network’s numerous good practices from around the world.
About the UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities
Learning cities are key drivers to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals. They promote good policy and practice, and foster sustainable development at various levels, notably through lifelong learning. The UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities, coordinated by the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning, supports and improves the practice of lifelong learning in member cities by promoting policy dialogue and peer learning, documenting effective strategies and good practice, fostering partnerships, providing capacity development, and developing tools and instruments to design, implement and monitor learning cities strategies.