Education First – a new UN initiative. launch – 26th September 2012

This is the first time that a United Nations Secretary-General has made education a priority. It is an historic decision that recognizes the power of education to transform lives and build more sustainable, peaceful and prosperous societies. I am proud that the Secretary-General turned to UNESCO to play a lead role in shaping this Initiative and taking it forward.”Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director-General

Education First is a five-year initiative of the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to ensure quality, relevant and transformative education for everyone. Global advocacy at the highest level, it aims to get the world back on track to meeting its education commitments.

In the Secretary-General’s own words, “when we put Education First, we can reduce poverty and hunger, end wasted potential – and look forward to stronger and better societies for all.”

The three priorities of Education First are:

  • putting every child into school
  • improving the quality of learning
  •  fostering global citizenship

The personal commitment and convening power of the UN Secretary-General sends the message that education is not simply a moral imperative; it is the single best investment nations can make to build prosperous, healthy and equitable societies.  By rallying together a broad spectrum of actors, including governments, donor nations, the business community, philanthropic organizations and the media, the Initiative will put education at the heart of the social, political and development agenda, so together, we can reach the goals we have set for ourselves.

Ministy of Education, Colombia


Education First aims to galvanize governments and all other sectors of society into action on education, to get all children into school, to make sure they learn, and that what they learn is relevant for addressing today’s global challenges.

The initiative will unite the agencies and programmes of the UN system, governments, business leaders and civil society in a concerted effort to put education back on track. The initiative will focus on three priorities: access to education, quality of education and education for global citizenship.

In 2000, 189 of the world’s nations pledged to achieve universal primary education by 2015. It was the second of eight Millennium Development Goals aimed at freeing people from poverty and multiple deprivations. Although significant progress has been made, the latest data shows a clear slow-down. Without a major effort, there is a real danger that more children will be out-of-school in 2015 than today.

A post script – there is still much discussion about represents QUALITY in education -it often is described in financial terms in that if we spend more then the quality should improve.This isn not always the case -a big barrier to overcome is the attitudes of parents, teachers and often the students themselves. We now live in a different age where the content of the curriculum is not able to keep up with changes in knowledge (take new advances in health, in mobile technology, in astronomy, in research on the brain and learning) we now need tsudents to possess a different range of skills and the ducation systems worldwide are still struggling to keep up. More on this later….


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