Why Education Must Be Central to New Goals After 2015
People around the world know that education is the key to a better life. Voters from over 190 countries who responded to the United Nations My World survey said providing a good education for all was the best way to build a better world. But there’s a huge gap between that goal and reality: 250 million children are still being denied a chance to learn the basics.
This week, as world leaders gather in New York for the opening of the U.N. General Assembly, they have a chance to bridge that gap by putting education at the top of their list of global priorities to pursue after the 2015 deadline for the Millennium Development Goals.
To provide concrete evidence why they should do so, UNESCO’s Education for All Global Monitoring Report team has released a new report demonstrating education’s powerful role in transforming lives.
The benefits of education can be huge. The new report shows that ensuring all women in poor countries complete primary school — helping them to spot warning signs and seek treatment for their children when ill — would save almost a million lives a year. If they all had secondary education, child mortality rates would be cut in half, saving three million lives. Read MoreDownload Report
Participation of young people is much talked about but often not practiced -here is a chance to see how young people can provide valid advice on issues not only concerning themselves and their peers but broader issues in Global Education.
Podcast: Young people provide strategic advice on education issues UNICEF
Members of the Youth Advocacy Group (YAG) gathered last week in Washington, DC, to advise high-level policy-makers on issues around education. Over the next year, the young leaders will provide strategic advice on young people’s priorities, mobilize youth groups and act as a connector between the Global Education First Initiative (GEFI) and young people all over the world.
Podcast moderator Femi Oke caught up with Salathiel Ntakirutimana, the representative for Burundi, and Sumaya Saluja, the representative for India. The young leaders talked about their experiences, the role of education in young people’s lives and their work with YAG.
The UN is reminding us that it is only 1000 days until the deadline for achieving the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs). Although human development does not progress by deadlines or is dictated by a centrally constructed calendar, it is worth taking stock on how ‘global priorities’ are being discussed and acted upon.
These info snippets can help focus attention on the value of education. The most chilling statistic is that global military spending increased by 6% since 2008 ,even with a financial crisis. Perhaps with more effective education mixed with increased emotional intelligence we would take Costa Rica’s lead in doing away with a military budget. We could then agree that the human species has truly evolved.
Worldwide military expenditure for 2009 was $1.5 trillion. Despite the financial crisis, this represents an increase of 6% in real terms compared to 2008. The increase in aid during the same period was only 0.7%
“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.
ABOUT EDUCATION FIRST
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….
Assessing Progress in Africa toward the Millennium Development Goals: MDG Report 2012
Having just returned from Zimbabwe I know how important it is to move on from access to quality in education. Many Sub -Saharan countries have made great strides in increasing enrolment ,partciularly in primary education, but when a teacher is faced with 100 children when previously she had 50 children in the class -something has to go- and that normally is quality. However , each country is now aiming to make their systems more inclusive while aiming to improve quality.
A new report considers the progress being made toward all the MDGs:
Sub-Saharan Africa must provide universal access to decent jobs and social services if it is to achieve decisive development progress, according to the MDG Report 2012. This year’s report shows that progress has been made in primary school enrolment, gender parity in primary school enrolment, the proportion of seats held by women in national parliament and HIV and AIDS prevalence rates. In spite of this progress, Africa still faces the challenges of addressing pervasive income inequalities, creating decent jobs, access to health and sanitation services.
Having been a teacher myself, but only been threatened by drunk parents or wayward adolescents,it is difficult to comprehend the pressure that many teachers are put under, just for doing their job.
In Northern Tanzania teachers can be threatened just for trying to help girls achieve well at the end of their primary years (parents want to get them married early). In Colombia teachers in some areas have risked their lives to teach in Escuela Nueva schools where they are in the middle of battles between FARC and the military. In Afghanistan teachers may be killed for encouraging girls to attend school. The report below outlines the sort of intimidation that teachers in Zimbabwe have been subject to:
Political Violence and Intimidation Against Teachers in Zimbabwe ((Research and Advocacy Unit)
This report is a follow-up of a report published earlier in February titled, “Every School has a Story to Tell: Teachers experience with elections in Zimbabwe”. Whilst the first report is largely given in summary form, recording the violations that teachers have experienced since 2000, this present report gives deeper understanding to the violations and puts them in a global perspective. The report feeds into a broad campaign to promote the Right to Education by calling for the criminalisation of attacks on education and educational institutions. The report bridges the gap and provides knowledge of the existence and extent of attacks on education in Zimbabwe.
Having just returned from Tanzania, where I have been working on Inclusive Education, I can vouch for the need to tackle both access and quality in education.
Read more from this report, which was publicized in the INEE newsletter.
Africa Progress Report 2012: Jobs, Justice, and Equity
(Africa Progress Panel)
Urgent action is needed to tackle a “twin crisis” in access to education and the quality of teaching, according to the Africa Progress Report 2012: Jobs, Justice and Equity: Seizing Opportunities in Times of Global Change, which was launched on Friday at the World Economic Forum on Africa, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Calling for a stronger focus on education, along with better funding mechanisms, the report says African governments and their development partners should make a “big push” towards the 2015 development goals, “focusing on the most disadvantaged countries, children who are being left behind and the need to improve learning achievement.”