Reaching the Margnialized: Launch of the 2010 GMR Report –
Findings on Conflict, Natural Disasters and Marginalisation
INEE has brought us upt odate with EFA by highlighting this new report.
Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, and Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, launched Reaching the Marginalized, the 2010 Education for All Global Monitoring Report at UN headquarters in New York on 19 January 2010. This was followed on 20 January by a policy event in Washington, DC at the Brookings Institution.
The Global Monitoring Report (GMR), developed annually by an independent team and published by UNESCO, assesses progress towards the six Education for All goals to which over 160 countries committed themselves in 2000. The 2010 Report charts some striking advances in education over the past decade. Despite these gains, however, the world is not on track to achieve the goal of universal primary education by 2015.
FIGHTING ‘EDUCATION POVERTY’ IS KEY TO BETTER PROGRESS:
Setbacks in education have wider consequences: lost opportunities for education will act as a brake on economic growth, poverty reduction, and progress in health and other areas. Therefore, as articulated by Kevin Watkins, Director of the Global Monitoring Report, “education should be placed at the center of the Millennium Development Goal agenda.”
Falling Short of the EFA Goals
- On current trends, 56 million primary school age children will still be out of school in 2015.
- Another 71 million adolescents are currently not at school.
- Gender disparities remain deeply engrained, with 28 countries across the developing world having nine or fewer girls in primary school for every ten boys.
- Girls still account for 54 per cent of the children out of school- and girls not in primary school are far less likely than boys ever to attend school.
- 10.3 million additional teachers will be needed worldwide to achieve the goal of universal primary education by 2015.
- There has been little progress towards the goal of halving adult illiteracy – a condition that affects 759 million people, two-thirds of them women.
- Far too many young people emerge from primary school unable to read or write. In some countries in sub-Saharan Africa, young adults with five years of primary schooling have a 40 per cent chance of being illiterate.
A Collective Aid Failure
According to the 2010 GMR, there has been a collective failure by the donor community to act on the pledge made in 2000 that ‘no countries seriously committed to education for all will be thwarted in their achievement of this goal by lack of resources. An estimated financing gapof US$16 billion annually for 46 low-income countries reflect governments’ ongoing neglect of the need to address extreme inequalities; the world will only get all its children into school by putting the marginalised at the centre of education policy. The authors of the report call on the UN Secretary General to convene a high-level pledging conference in 2010 to address the financing shortfall. With 72 million children still out of school, the report cautions that a combination of slower economic growth, rising poverty and budget pressures, could erode the gains of the past decade:
“While rich countries nurture their economic recovery, many poor countries face the imminent prospect of education reversals. We cannot afford to create a lost generation of children deprived of their chance for an education that might lift them out of poverty,” said UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova.
The report also concludes that the Fast Track Initiative (FTI), the centrepiece of multilateral aid for education, needs fundamental reform. Payout rates are very low, developing countries have a weak voice, the private sector’s role is minimal and countries affected by conflict are poorly served.
Conflict, Natural Disaster and Marginalisation
Discrimination and inequalities based on poverty, gender, location, ethnicity, disability, HIV/AIDS, language and exposure to conflict play a key role in marginalisation – and often combine to reinforce disadvantage – holding back progress in education, wasting human potential and undermining prosperity.
Chapter 3 of the GMR, Getting left behind, explores how the effects of external shocks such as droughts, floods or economic downturns on schooling tend to be more pronounced in low-income countries. The poorest households often find it impossible to shield their children’s schooling from these shocks, adding to the threat of poverty persisting across generations: when children are born in a drought year or experience malnutrition early in their lives, the effects can be seen a decade later in their health and nutritional status, and their education attainment.
The GMR identifies conflict as a potent source of marginalisation in education: over one-third of primary school age children who do not attend school – 25 million total – live in conflict-affected poor countries. Worldwide, around 14 million children aged 5 to 17 have been forcibly displaced by conflict within countries or across borders, into education systems lacking the most rudimentary education facilities. Less easy to measure than the impact on school attendance are the effects of trauma associated with armed conflict on learning.
The report states that the international donor community has not responded effectively to the problems of low-income countries affected by conflict. These countries account for one-third of out-of-school children, but receive less than one-fifth of aid to education. Moreover, aid flows are dominated by a small group of conflict-affected states – notably Afghanistan and Pakistan – while a far larger group is neglected. Overall, education receives less than 2% of humanitarian aid, and many countries have received insufficient support for education reconstruction.
The report calls for governments to adopt targeted policies and practices that combat exclusion and successfully counteract persistent inequalities in education, including:
- Improving accessibility and affordability by cutting fees and informal charges and offering targeted incentives, in addition to bringing classrooms physically closer to marginalized children;
- Strengthening the learning environment by providing highly skilled teachers and expanded intercultural bilingual teaching and adapting schools to the local context;
- Expanding entitlements and opportunities by integrating education strategies into wider anti-marginalization policies, such as social protection, reinforced legal entitlements and more fairly distributed public spending.
- Implementing accelerated learning opportunities, which play a particularly vital role in post-conflict settings, where a generation of children may have missed out on education
Upcoming 2011 Global Monitoring Report on Education and ConflictIn an exciting development for the field of Education in Emergencies, the next GMR report will focus specifically on education in conflict. The INEE Secretariat, INEE Steering Group, INEE Working Group on Education and Fragility and other members of the network have been actively involved in the early stages of the process, supporting the development of the concept note and research agenda for the 2011 Report. INEE will continue to work closely with the GMR team as the research progresses, and will share more information on the consultation process and opportunities for engagement over the listserv in the coming months.
Click here to download the INEE Pocket Guide to Inclusive Education.
Click here to read INEE Member Peter Hyll Larson’s recent blog post on marginalization: Non-discrimination in education in emergencies: the fundamental challenge.