A World At School ?

MDGs have had some good and press lately as the new international goals are being debated. What is clear is that more children are in school, yet the quality of their education,in many cases has not improved. At present there is still a big push for getting more children in school (see below) but we hope that this push does not get in the way of improving quality.

#Education Countdown
A World At School

World leaders made a promise that every child would be in school and learning by 2015. Great progress has been made but 58 million children around the world are still being denied this basic right. August 18th will mark 500 days until the end of the 2015 and the MDG deadline of universal education. On that day A World at School will be launching the #EducationCountdown. At this crucial time the #EducationCountdown brings together NGOs, civil society, teachers, youth, faith based organizations and the business community in a global movement to marshal the political will and financing needed to achieve Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 2 of universal education. Every 100 days the #EducationCountdown will address key barriers to learning for all children and deliver results against collective milestones and targets developed in consultation with key stakeholders throughout the campaign.

To learn more about the education campaign, click here.


Education For All (EFA) – 1000 days to MDG deadline and the Global Monitoring Report

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.

Education Counts

Towards the Millennium Development Goals – 2010 MDG Summit Exhibition “EDUCATION COUNTS Towards the Millennium Development Goals” was held in New York, 9 September – 20 November 2010

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.

Infographics designed by Zago, New York

One extra year of schooling increases an individual’s earnings by up to 10%.

$16 billion a year in aid would send all children to school in low-income countries. This is about half of the amount Europeans and Americans spend on ice cream annually ($31 billion).

171 million people could be lifted out of poverty if all students in lowincome countries left school with basic reading skills – equivalent to a 12% cut in world poverty.

In Kenya, if women farmers are given the same level of education as their male partners, their yields for maize, beans and cowpeas increase by up to 22%.

In Latin America, children whose mothers have some secondary schooling remain in school for two  to three more years than children of mothers with less schooling.

A child born to a mother who can read is 50% more likely to survive past age 5.

In sub-Saharan Africa, an estimated 1.8 million children’s lives could have been saved in 2008 if their mothers had at least a secondary education.

Women with postprimary education are 5 times more likely than illiterate women to be educated on the topic of HIV and AIDS.

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%

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….

Education breakthroughs? 2015 and beyond….

Having just returned from Zimbabwe where the Government is attempting to put forward fundamental education reforms (new curricula, new teacher education strategy etc. It is worth considering the flurry of excitement about post 2015 initiatives. It seems that some of the failures (or lack of achievement) in terms of EFA and MDGs may be spurring all interested agencies to hold onto the gains made and extend the agenda.

It’s time for an Education Breakthrough: Coming Together for 2015 and the Agenda Beyond
Center for Universal Education at Brookings
The stars of the global development galaxy infrequently align to provide the education sector with an opportunity to advance progress for girls and boys around the world. However, there is currently a unique opportunity to put forth a common vision to reinforce the Education for All (EFA) and Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and to chart a forward-looking agenda for the post-2015 development goals that builds upon collective progress and lessons learned.

Three global policy windows are available to advance a common agenda:

  1. Discussions and processes for establishing a new set of global development goals, following the expiration of the MDGs in 2015, are underway in the United Nations.
  2. UNESCO has also started parallel conversations on the post-2015 EFA agenda.
  3. The U.N. Secretary General will soon launch a five-year global education initiative that will span the time period leading up to and following 2015.

To read the full opinion piece, click  here.

Assessing Progress in Africa toward the Millennium Development Goals: MDG Report 2012

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.


For full report click here.


Out of School Children – still too many?

INEE has posted reference to the new UIS and the EFA Global Monitoring Report


According to new UIS data, an estimated 61 million children of primary school age are being denied their right to education. While the global out-of-school figure has declined over the past 15 years, falling from 102 million in 1990, the new data show that progress began to slow down in 2005 and has stagnated between 2008 and 2010 (at 61 million based on revised UN population estimates).

At the same time, in sub-Saharan Africa, the number of out-of-school children of primary school age climbed from 29 million in 2008 to 31 million in 2010. Although enrolment in the region has risen, it has not kept pace with rapid population growth.

To learn more, consult the following resources:
–         UNESCO eAtlas of Out-of-School Children allows users to map and share the data;
–         Fact sheet and interactive graphics presenting the new data;
–         EFA blog post urging leaders to put out-of-school children on the Rio+20 agenda.


What is still an important issue is not just the number of children in school but the quality of the education. It is difficult to convince parents to send their daughter to school instead of completing domestic chores at home,where they are discriminated against, achieve little and may even get abused on their way back from school. Teachers have to be better trained, basic facilities such as toilets have to be provided and an emphasis on achievement for all is critical.

The money spent on arms and the military in many countries is an obscenity.

Achieving the Millennium Development Goals – Teaching for Action+UNAIDS

The INEE newsletter once brings news of new information, sources and events. This one is about the MDGs and education.

(Committee on Teaching About the United Nations)

Date: January 14, 2011
Location: UN Headquarters in NYC, North Lawn Building

All 192 member states of the United Nations have signed a time-bound agreement to work to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger; achieve universal primary education; promote gender equality and empower women; reduce child mortality; improve maternal health; combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases; and ensure environmental sustainability and child protection all by 2015. The 8th goal emphasizes that the MDGs can best be achieved through multifaceted global partnerships. At the ten-year mark, an assessment of progress on meeting the MDGs is underway.

Panel presentations will offer information and updates of the progress being made toward the MDGs. The session on Education will be moderated by INEE Director Lori Heninger.

To register and for more information on speakers and panels, visit the Committee websitehere.

REPORT: An Education in Conflict
(Al Jazeera) 

Despite widespread commitments on paper to the second Millennium Development Goal – the provision of universal primary education by 2015 – 72 million children remain out of school. More worryingly, 39 million (54 per cent) of these children reside in conflict-affected fragile states (CAFS), where they face multiple pressures in terms of lack of access to basic rights, and an accompanying unwillingness on the part of international donors or even local governments to place an emphasis on providing education.

To learn more on education in CAFS and the issues in achieving the MDGs, read the full reporthere.


The second item is a resource from UNAIDS

RESOURCE: UNAIDS Inter-Agency Task Team on Education

(Education Cluster, INEE, UNAIDS and UNICEF)  

This guide on HIV in Education in Emergencies provides information for education practitioners who provide, manage or support education services in emergencies. It provides guidance for mainstreaming HIV and sexual and reproductive health issues into formal and non- formal education responses for adolescents 10-19 years old.

Multiple approaches are needed to respond to the HIV epidemic.  Such combined measures help to reduce immediate risk, change underlying social dynamics that make people vulnerable to HIV, and better respond to the needs of people living with HIV. The education sector has a role to play in all these preventive measures, and this guide provides information on all four areas. For schools and learning spaces, this means that life skills based HIV education (behavioural measures) is undertaken within a protective and enabling learning environment which has access to services (legislative/structural measures).

To access the guide, click here.