Virtual learning will require new standards of accountability. Image credit: Pixabay

Universal virtual learning standards are coming. What does that mean for you?

The ever-evolving updates of COVID-19 exposed the world’s education systems as ill-prepared to handle a pandemic.

To help reduce exposure to the virus, schools all over the globe are turning to online classes and virtual learning models. Are these effective alternatives to traditional face-to-face classroom settings?

What we learned from the spring shift to virtual classes is the results were as diverse as the students themselves.

It’s no secret online education is a substandard alternative to traditional learning; the challenge is to find a better way to make education accessible and effective for all students.

Education 2030 and Universal Virtual Learning Plans

Thanks to forward-looking educators, plans were already in place to shift the global education system onto the resilient path of online learning worldwide. Participants representing UNESCO, UNICEF, the World Bank, UNFPA, UNDP, UN Women and UNHCR made up a group known as the World Education Forum in 2015. The Forum met in Incheon, Korea to develop a framework for action to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development goal 4: “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.” Their framework for action is called the Incheon Declaration, or better-known as Education 2030.

I’ll mention just two of the Education 2030 action plans here. The first is, “Support a comprehensive approach to making schools resilient to disaster impacts of all sizes. This includes safer school facilities, school disaster management, and risk reduction, and resilience education.

The second is, “provide distance learning, ICT training, access to appropriate technology, and necessary infrastructure to facilitate a learning environment at home . . .”

The shutdown forces us to adopt online learning; online learning forces us to adopt new standards. Guess who has the new standards ready?

What if I told you education is at the heart of transforming our world to a global government?

Before we get to the new standards, let’s look at what you need to know about why virtual learning standards are coming.

Education’s Role Within the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

As the 2018 UNESCO video above explains, “education is at the heart of a sustainable future for us all.” Repeating language of the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the video tells us sustainable development “is an ambitious project for people, planet, and prosperity . . . with education at its very core.”

Sustainable development is more than that. It is an ambitious project for global governance, bound by the strength of paper promises of wealth and prosperity, social equality for all, and planetary salvation. It promises to end poverty once and for all and to create conditions favorable for developing a sustainable future.

But to get there, sustainable development advocates insist education must change values and attitudes to those more conducive to global citizenship, not national citizenship. For instance, ESCAP, the UN’s Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, writes, “Sustainable development is not merely an aspiration, it is vital for the survival of societies, ecosystems, and economies . . . there will need to be shifts in attitudes, behaviours, and knowledge competencies.”

UNESCO’s Global Education First Agenda (GEFI), created in 2012, tells us education will be used to help meet this goal: “Education must be transformative and bring shared values to life. It must cultivate an active care for the world and for those with whom we share it. Education must also be relevant in answering the big questions of the day. Technological solutions, political regulation or financial instruments alone cannot achieve sustainable development. It requires transforming the way people think and act. Education must fully assume its central role in helping people to forge more just, peaceful, tolerant, and inclusive societies. It must give people the understanding, skills, and values they need to cooperate in resolving the interconnected challenges of the 21st century.”

New Virtual Standards Include Provisions for Teaching Sustainable Development

“Quality education includes the development of those skills, values, attitudes, and knowledge that enable citizens to lead healthy and fulfilled lives, make informed decisions, and respond to global challenges,” according to Education 2030.

To ensure students get this definition of quality education, the group insists on establishing quality learning standards. “Relevant learning outcomes must be well defined in cognitive and non-cognitive domains, and continually assessed as an integral part of the teaching and learning process.”

A model for new virtual learning standards is already underway in the United Arab Emirates. Below are the new virtual learning standards published by the Abu Dhabi Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (ACTVET), Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

One standard stands out among the rest: Standard 4.5.

Standard 4.5 states, “Teacher promotes the concepts of citizenship, culture and its values, social justice, equality and inclusion.”

Recent shifts in attitudes and values have become synonymous with:

  • destroying traditional respect for national citizenship in favor of global citizenship
  • destroying national culture by flooding the nation with non-conforming cultures
  • destroying national values by constantly attacking our Constitutional rights and promoting counter-values
  • destroying social justice and rule of law
  • plundering wealth from workers to give to non-workers; from rich nations to developing nations
  • mocking merit-based rewards by affirmative action plans, reparation schemes, and extortion.

Is this what we really want? Or will America take back control of our children’s education?

Virtual education is sure to be the subject of a lot of policy decisions in the upcoming year. Subscribe to for the latest policy discussions and changes that could affect you.

Source: AlShamsi, M. S. and McPherson, L. F. (2020), Virtual Teaching Standard. Published by Abu Dhabi Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (ACTVET), Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Available online at .