Aaron Benavot is Director, Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report (formerly known as the Education for All Global Monitoring Report). Developed by an independent team, the GEM Report is a comprehensive, authoritative and evidence-based annual report published by UNESCO. Its mandate is to monitor progress towards key international targets in education in the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) framework. With 12 reports produced since 2002, the Report has acquired extensive experience in monitoring and policy analysis and a global reputation for excellence, covering themes ranging from inequality, gender, and teaching and learning to conflict, adult literacy and early childhood care and education. The 2016 GEM Report, which will be launched in September, examines the links between education and other development sectors and carefully reviews each education target in the fourth SDG on education.
Benavot is also Professor (on leave), School of Education, University at Albany-SUNY (Albany, NY) with interests in global education policy and comparative education research. His scholarly work explores aspects of the evolution of basic education—for example, educational expansion and compulsory schooling, the growing similarities of official curricular policies, the diversification of secondary education, school differences in curricular implementation, the changing status of vocational education and the growth of national learning assessments. He recently headed a project that examined commonalities and differences in the contents of primary level mathematics and reading textbooks and curricula. He has co-authored or edited the following books: School Knowledge for the Masses (with J. Meyer and D. Kamens), Law and the Shaping of Public Education (with D. Tyack and T. James), Global Educational Expansion: Historical legacies and political obstacles (with J. Resnik and J. Corrales), School Knowledge in Comparative and Historical Perspective (with C. Braslavsky), and PISA, Power, and Policy: The Emergence of global educational governance (with H-D Meyer).
Ms. Irmeli Halinen works in the Finnish National Board of Education (FNBE) as the Head of the Curriculum Development. FNBE is a state agency in charge of the development of education in Finland, working under the auspices of the Ministry of Education and Culture. Ms. Halinen has been coordinating the national curriculum reform 2012 - 2016.
Ms. Halinen has also been a member of the Finnish National Commission for UNESCO until 2015. She has been active in UNESCO/IBE-organisation and a member of the international Advisory Board for the Sustainability and Education Academy (SEdA), Until the end of 2015 she was the national coordinator of the CIDREE (Consortium of Institutions for Development and Research in Education in Europe). She has influenced as a curriculum expert in Nepal, India, China, the Caribbean area, Canada, and several European as well as some Arab, Latin American, and African countries.
Ms. Halinen has worked in several national evaluation and development projects since the 1970’s. She is a former teacher, and a school principal as well as the Head of School Improvement in the Helsinki City Education Department. During 2005 – 2011 she was a member of the Finnish Education Evaluation Council. Until 2015, she has also been a member of the advisory board of The Niilo Mäki Foundation (a research and development centre for learning difficulties), and a permanent expert member of the Advisory Board of The Ombudsman for Children in Finland. She has written several articles, published in Finland and in other countries and also been an active lecturer both in Finland and abroad. In 2010 she was awarded with a badge of honour by the president of Finland.