International Mother Language Day 2016


International Mother Language Day 2016

“An estimated 40% of the global population do not receive education in a language that they speak or understand.”

However, even these numbers, underestimate the situation in pockets of disadvantage. 

Governments are less happy to monitor this situation and certainly less happy to publicise this data.
Even in reports on achievement, people are still surprised that children entering grade 1 without the language of instruction are underachieving at grade 3 -which should be quite obvious,being taught in a ‘foreign’ language. It is also usual for grade 1 teachers not to have training to teach bilingually or at least training to understand the difficulties inherent in teaching children of diverse backgrounds (i.e. inclusive education).
National languages have a political dimension, quite often, with a search for ‘national identity’ so the argument about children’s underachievement, somehow gets lost, particularly if it may be to do with an ethnic minority or relatively small groups living in poverty.

Awareness without action may be self defeating. Some say that the figures in the report, quoted above, are high, but I think, even these numbers, underestimate the situation in many pockets of disadvantage. 



Another example of how language is used and misused by politicians, this time in South Africa:

The Soweto uprising is probably one of the most impactful demonstrations for language and learning rights to take place across the globe. It placed the anti-apartheid struggle on an international platform and presented a massive shift in gear for the struggle for a free South Africa. These events took place 40 years ago. We should remember them as we celebrate International Mother Language Day this week.

Students gathered in Soweto 40 years ago to protest the use of Afrikaans as the medium of instruction in black, but not white schools. The new language education policy was enforced through the Afrikaans Medium Decree of 1974, which stated that Afrikaans and English should be used in a 50-50 mix as the medium for instruction.



“Education for All 2000-2015: Achievements and Challenges”

Following my last post mentioning that about 4 and half days of global military spending could pay for a quality education for all post 2015 -we can look at the details of the challenges that lie ahead:

2015 EFA Global Monitoring Report (GMR)
“Education for All 2000-2015: Achievements and Challenges”


Just one third of countries have achieved all of the measurable Education for All (EFA) goals set in 2000. Only half of all countries have achieved the most watched goal of universal primary enrollment. An extra $22 billion a year is needed on top of already ambitious government contributions in order to ensure we achieve the new education targets now being set for the year 2030.

These are the key findings of the 2015 EFA Global Monitoring Report (GMR) “Education for All 2000-2015: Achievements and Challenges”, produced by UNESCO which has tracked progress on these goals for the past 15 years. The report  provides a complete assessment of progress since 2000 towards the target date for reaching the Dakar Framework’s goals. It takes stock of whether the world achieved the EFA goals and stakeholders upheld their commitments. It explains possible determinants of the pace of progress. Finally, it identifies key lessons for shaping the post-2015 global education agenda.

To access the report and many supporting resources, click here. 

Education for All -Global Monitoring Report (2014) – Teaching and Learning: Achieving Quality For All

As new brain research helps us to understand the best conditions for learning and while the demands of the future lives of the present generation are very much unknown, it is worth taking stock on the present situation of teachers and learners:

Education for All : Global Monitoring Report 2013/2014

“Teaching and learning: Achieving quality for all”


Launch date  29 Jan 2014.

The 2013/4 Education for All Global Monitoring Report will show why education is pivotal for development in a rapidly changing world. It will explain how investing wisely in teachers, and other reforms aimed at strengthening equitable learning, transform the long-term prospects of people and societies.

Equity and quality education will be pivotal in the post 2015 agenda. Visit our post 2015 online hub for resources and updates on ‘Education Post 2015’.

Check out:

**Global Learning Crisis Costing $129 Billion a Year
UNESCO’s 2013/14 Education for All Global Monitoring Reportreveals that a global learning crisis is costing governments $129 billion a year. Ten percent of global spending on primary education is being lost on poor quality education that is failing to ensure that children learn. This situation leaves one in four young people in poor countries unable to read a single sentence. The report concludes that good teachers are the key to improvement and calls on governments to provide the best in the profession to those who need them most.

** This year’s report, Teaching and Learning: Achieving Quality for All, warns that without attracting and adequately training enough teachers the learning crisis will last for several generations and hit the disadvantaged hardest. In many sub-Saharan African countries, for example, the Report reveals that only one in five of the poorest children reach the end of primary school having learned the basics in reading and mathematics. Read More  Download Report

The report  “Teaching and Learning: Achieving Quality for all” discusses a range of topics relevant to our task team such as investing wisely in teachers, strengthening equitable learning, and questions for longer term transformation in the face of disadvantage and social injustice.  The report makes the following core recommendations:
  1. New education goals after 2015 must include an explicit commitment to equity so that every child has an equal chance of an education. New goals need clear, measurable targets with indicators that will track the progress of the most disadvantaged.
  2. New goals after 2015 must ensure that every child is in school and learning the basics. Children do not only have the right to be in school, but also to learn while there, and to emerge with the skills they need to find secure, well-paid work.
  3. Ensure the best teachers reach the learners who need them most. National education plans must include an explicit commitment to reaching the marginalized. Teachers should be recruited locally, or have similar backgrounds to disadvantaged learners. Every teacher needs pre- and in-service training on ways to target support to disadvantaged children. Incentives must be provided to ensure the best teachers work in remote, under-served areas. Governments must work to retain their best teachers, providing pay that meets at least their basic needs, good working conditions and a career path.
A summary report in English is attached to this message as well as the press release. The full report and translations are available from the following Link.


Update from INEE, after the launch:

Please also watch and share the new video about the Report. Help join in the conversation with INEE online about these new findings via #teachlearn / @efareport.

Please go to the EFA GMR website where to download the full report and the summary in several languages. There are also new infographics highlighting key facts and figures from the Report.



Present and past reports:


Get ready for it… 2013/4 Education for All Global Monitoring Report…

Get ready for it….although  not launched until the end of January, it is worth reminding you of its existence and its promise. For me the focus on teaching and learning is crucial for all our learners wherever they live.  Check out another report while waitin –Education transforms lives

The 2013/4 Education for All Global Monitoring Report shows that a lack of attention to education quality and a failure to reach the marginalized have contributed to a learning crisis that needs urgent attention. Worldwide, 250 million children – many of them from disadvantaged backgrounds – are not learning the basics. Teaching and learning: Achieving quality for all describes how policy-makers can support and sustain a quality education system for all children, regardless of background, by providing the best teachers. The Report also documents global progress in achieving Education for All goals and provides lessons for setting a new education agenda post-2015. In addition, the Report identifies that insufficient financing is hindering advances in education.



While waiting for the report take a look at:

Education transforms lives:


New video – Out of conflict and into school – in two minutes! More on EFA.

Out of conflict and into school – in two minutes

In a snappy YouTube clip, Katy Webley, head of education at Save the Children,  spells out the lessons that her organisation has learned from its Rewrite the Futurecampaign, including the message that  “Education must become part of emergency responses, alongside food, nutrition, health and shelter.” We’ll be investigating these issues in depth in the 2011 Education for All Global Monitoring Report.

More information about the consultation which will lead to the 2011 EFA Global Monitoring Report:

Education and Violent Conflict
2011 Education for All Global Monitoring Report

Violent conflict is one of the greatest development challenges facing the international community. Beyond the immediate human suffering it causes, it is a source of poverty, inequality and economic stagnation. Children and education systems are often on the front line of violent conflict: around one-third of the world’s 72 million out of school children live in only 20 conflict-affected countries.

The 2011 Global Monitoring Report will examine the damaging consequences of conflict for the Education for All goals. It will set out an agenda for protecting the right to education during conflict, strengthening provision for children, youth and adults affected by conflict, and rebuilding education systems in countries emerging from conflict. The Report will also explore the role of inappropriate education policies in creating conditions for violent conflict. Drawing on experience from a range of countries, it will identify problems and set out solutions that can help make education a force for peace, social cohesion and human dignity.