Keynote address: Why education and global competence will be key for the success of the SDGs

Presented by

Mr. Dirk Van Damme

Senior Counsellor in the Directorate for Education and Skills, OECD

May 7th 2020
Bluepoint, Brussels

Dirk Van Damme


May 7th 2020




English (with simultaneous translation to NL and FR)





Dirk Van Damme (PhD, Ghent University) is Senior Counsellor in the Directorate for Education and Skills at the OECD in Paris, after having served as Head of the Centre for Educational Research and Innovation, and as Head of the OECD work on skills. Before joining the OECD in 2008, he held academic positions in educational research and comparative education at various universities, was counsellor for several Flemish education ministers (1992-2000), General Director of the Flemish Rectors’ Conference VLIR (2000-2003), and chief of staff of minister Frank Vandenbroucke (2004- 2008). His current interests are the science of learning, comparative analyses of educational systems, lifelong learning and global developments in education.

Short contents:

The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are the blueprint to achieving a better and more sustainable future for all. SDG4 focuses on quality education for all and calls for sweeping action to expand learning opportunities and improve the quality of education so that all children and adults acquire the knowledge and skills to thrive. The keynote will provide an update on where we are, ten years before the target year 2030. But education has a much larger role to play. Success in almost all SDGs depends on the multiplier effect of education: ambitions in SDG1 to eradicate poverty requires universal primary and secondary educational attainment; good health and well-being (SDG3) is only feasible when especially more girls and women complete education. But educational attainment alone will not be enough. We have to think harder about the kind of knowledge, skills, attitudes and values that we need to develop in order to prepare children and adults for the world of tomorrow. Global challenges of climate change and sustainable growth, but also digitalization, migration, innovation and peace will require global competence. The keynote will expand on the concept of global competence and explain why and how it has been integrated in the PISA 2018 assessment.