Photostory: The power of education

Sustainable development begins with an education as demonstrated by the following people from around the world. Download our booklet, released yesterday to coincide with the UN General Assembly, to show how education is a catalyst for lasting development.

Click on a photo to read their stories.

Posted in Africa, Asia, Basic education, Economic growth, Employment, Equality, Gender, Health, Human rights, Latin America, Learning, Literacy, Nutrition, Post-secondary education, Primary school, Quality of education, Teachers, Youth | 1 Comment

New GMR booklet: Sustainable development begins with education

As the General Assembly kicks off in New York, the GMR has produced a new widely-supported booklet showing that education is a catalyst for each of the proposed post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals.

blog_sgEducation is positively intertwined with each of the proposed sustainable development targets that will replace the Millennium Development Goals when they expire in 2015. That’s the key point of a new booklet that we are releasing today in New York at the start of the UN General Assembly. For the new global development agenda to succeed and last, it is critically important that we approach the future with holistic strategies and cross-sectoral collaborations.

The booklet’s arguments and findings have received far-reaching support from across the development world, as the quotes in this blog make clear. They will be discussed today in New York at an event chaired by the UN Secretary-General’s Special Advisor on Post-2015 development planning, and including speakers from Women Deliver, the World Food Programme and UNICEF.

The need to provide quality education to the greatest number of people is interwoven through all the proposed new goals:

Goal 1: Poverty reduction: The booklet shows that education is critical to escape chronic poverty and to prevent the transmission of poverty between generations. Education also enables those working in the formal labour market to earn higher wages: One year of education is associated with a 10% increase in wages.

quote_wfpGoal 2: Nutrition improvement:
The devastating impact of malnutrition on children’s lives is preventable with the help of education. If all women had a secondary education, they would know the nutrients that children need, the hygiene rules they should follow and they would have a stronger voice in the home to ensure proper care. Improved nutrition would save more than 12 million children from being stunted – a sign of early childhood malnutrition.

Continue reading

Posted in Basic education, Climate change, Conflict, Democracy, Developed countries, Developing countries, Disaster preparedness, Economic growth, Employment, Environment, Equality, Famine, Gender, Governance, Health, HIV/AIDS, Human rights, Millennium Development Goals, Nutrition, Post-2015 development framework, Poverty, Reproductive health, Skills, Sustainable development | 1 Comment

The role of civil society in the Dakar World Education Forum

david_archer_87411This is the fifth in a series of blogs taking a retrospective view of the EFA agenda and its implementation. This blog looks back to the World Education Conference in Dakar in 2000 from the perspective of David Archer, Head of Programme Development at ActionAid. David joined ActionAid in 1990, the year of the original EFA meeting in Jomtien. He was closely involved in strengthening civil society engagement on Education for All, and helped co-found the Global Campaign for Education in the build up to the World Education Forum in Dakar.

The World Education Forum in Dakar in April 2000 was a momentous occasion for NGOs and teacher unions, who coordinated more effectively than ever before to advance a common agenda on education. The previous September had seen the formation of the Global Campaign for Education (GCE), bringing together key actors who all demanded an urgent response to the global crisis in education. When GCE first declared that there was a crisis, the response from the UN system was more or less to say “Crisis? What crisis?” Yet despite the promises made a decade earlier in Jomtien, over 100 million children were not in school and there were major concerns about quality and equity. It can be argued that the Dakar Framework for Action would have been much weaker had it not been for these concerted civil society efforts.

GCE_LOGOThe Global Campaign for Education (GCE) initially brought together four key actors. ActionAid was already running the “Elimu” campaign which focused on democratising education decision making – supporting stronger citizen oversight locally and forming inclusive national education coalitions to review and influence progress on education. Meanwhile Oxfam had launched their “Education Now!” Campaign, putting a human face on their work on structural adjustment and debt by focusing on education financing and demanding a global action plan.  At the same time Education International, the global federation of teachers unions, with 23 million members (at the time), launched a campaign called “Quality Public Education for All”, challenging the neo-liberal agenda and the creeping privatisation of education. Finally the Global March Against Child Labour, a broad alliance based on mass mobilisation in the Global South (formed in 1997) came to see universalising education as key to ending child labour. National coalitions on education from Brazil, Bangladesh and Kenya also joined the founding meeting of GCE.

Continue reading

Posted in Basic education, Developed countries, Developing countries, Post-2015 development framework | 8 Comments

Improving literacy for sustainable development

South SudanCredit:  © BRAC

South SudanCredit: © BRAC

Today is International Literacy Day. The theme for this year is Literacy and Sustainable Development. The day will be “an opportunity to remember a simple truth: literacy not only changes lives, it saves them,” says the Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, in her message for the Day. It will be an opportune moment for the education community to remind the Open Working Group of the importance of literacy for achieving a whole range of sustainable development priorities.

And it is a truth that literacy saves lives. As showed by our Education Transforms booklet last year, providing all women with a primary education would reduce child mortality by a sixth, and maternal deaths by two-thirds. It enables children to live their lives too: if all women had primary education, there would be 15% fewer children married under the age 15. This evidence must be recognised by those working on the international post-2015 development agenda.

CaptureThe links between education and development will be further explored in a new booklet by the EFA Global Monitoring Report being released on September 18th, just before the United Nations General Assembly. The undeniable evidence of the links between education and reducing hunger, preventing disease, and escaping poverty in the 2013/14 GMR–reinforced in our new research–have led us to promote a public campaign action calling on all development actors to support the need for closer cross-sectoral collaboration. Join us in pledging you will work together with others for development that lasts. Your signature will join others in being presented to the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon and his advisors as discussions over sustainable development post-2015 take center stage.

Continue reading

Posted in Adult education, Basic education, Employment, Literacy | 3 Comments

A personal perspective on the follow up after Dakar

Clinton RobinsonThis is the fourth in a series of blogs taking a retrospective view of the Education for All agenda and its subsequent implementation. This blog is by Clinton Robinson, who was an independent consultant working for UNESCO at the start of the Millennium and rapporteur for the EFA working group and EFA high level group after Dakar. He was subsequently on staff in the UNESCO EFA Coordination Unit. Here, he reflects on the coordination mechanisms set up after Dakar to help follow up on the EFA Agenda.

dakarHow do you take the outcomes of a meeting of 164 countries, organised by five different international agencies, and turn them into a 15-year collective commitment? Putting it that way shows how complex the follow-up to the Dakar Conference in 2000 would prove to be. The Dakar Framework for Action written in 2000 foresaw two mechanisms: a small, flexible high-level group to drive political commitment, and six working groups, one for each goal. UNESCO, as the designated coordinating agency, convened the EFA High-Level Group, which met each year from 2001 to 2011. In place of the six working groups, a single working group was established at the technical level, which also met annually.

The EFA High-Level Group brought together a selected, rotating group of ministers of education from the ‘south’ and ministers of development cooperation from the ‘north’, thus structuring the dialogue to a large extent around aid. The EFA challenges in ‘northern’ countries were not on the agenda, and this stifled what might have been interesting exchanges of experience from widely differing contexts. The aims of the working group, meanwhile, were less well defined, but the group did provide a platform for discussion of substance, including some cutting edge issues such as EFA and HIV/AIDS, private sector engagement, and education for rural people.

Continue reading

Posted in Aid, Millennium Development Goals, Post-2015 development framework | 3 Comments

Writing the Dakar Framework: “the hardest 20 paragraphs of my life”

authorThis is the third in a series of blogs taking a retrospective view of the Education for All agenda and its subsequent implementation. In this blog, Maris O’Rourke looks at leadership issues at Dakar and the difficulties of putting pen to paper. 

I’ve been involved with EFA since Jomtien in 1990 when I was Secretary for Education in New Zealand. But it wasn’t until I got to the World Bank in 1995 that it became up close and personal. When I went to the Mid-Decade Meeting of the International Consultative Forum on Education for All in Amman, Jordan in 1996, the disappointment of everyone at the lack of reliable data and the lack of progress since Jomtien was palpable. There was a strong feeling that UNESCO wasn’t leading adequately. However, this frustration also energised everyone to try and find solutions: the Global Campaign for Education emerged from that meeting, for example, as did the well-oiled EFA Forum, which met twice a year at UNESCO with Svein Osstveit as Executive Director. Both were very effective.

Credit: Monika Nikope/UNESCO 2010

Credit: Monika Nikope/UNESCO 2010

At the World Bank we had a lot of data and research on the conditions required within a country for development success. We also had a good deal of information from HIPC (the Highly Indebted Poor Countries Initiative) on how to relieve the debt burden within countries. Thanks to this data collection, by the time the Dakar Conference came around in 2000, organisations and countries were clearer on how much progress had and had not been achieved.  We also had the results of the EFA assessment. And, there had been about 30 in-depth studies and 12 thematic studies done. More importantly, the six regional meetings had identified what the future priorities should be and, although there were regional differences, there was also remarkable consensus. We also had the regional frameworks for action. So we had something to build on when we met in Dakar; we had the status quo for the present and just needed to work out a plan for the future.

The Dakar Framework for Action was probably the most difficult, but satisfying, 20 paragraphs of my life. Marlaine Lockheed and I were the World Bank representatives sitting on the group responsible for drafting this Framework called the Futures Taskforce. This was a committed and varied group who became a strong team over the course of the Dakar preparations. We never saw daylight and slept very little.

Continue reading

Posted in Millennium Development Goals, Post-2015 development framework, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

The Dakar process: Substance over politics

This blog looks back to the World Education Conference in Dakar in 2000 from the perspective of Abhimanyu Singh, Director UNESCO, Beijing. In the years leading up to Dakar, Abhimanyu was national EFA coordinator for India, rapporteur for the Asian region, and chaired the global drafting committee at Dakar.  This is the second in a series of blogs taking a retrospective view of the EFA agenda and its implementation.  

pencils_smAs we gathered in Dakar in late April of 2000, there were high expectations coupled with a general sense of disappointment about the slow progress towards the EFA goals adopted at Jomtien in 1990. The Dakar Framework for Action revived the flagging EFA agenda with renewed international commitments for financing EFA, six time-bound goals and twelve operational strategies. A lot has been achieved since, but the unfinished task remains daunting. At this juncture it is worth reflecting on the process and outcomes of Dakar and the lessons that could help shape the post-2015 global education agenda.

Much work had gone into the preparation of the Dakar Forum in 2000. A bottom up, participative and consultative process was initiated through the preparation of National EFA Assessment Reports. This culminated in numerous sub-regional synthesis reports, regional synthesis reports for five regions; and a draft Dakar Framework for Action. My first recommendation to those working on new education goals post 2015 is to learn from the nature of this process, which gave the Framework credibility, legitimacy and a universal appeal.

Continue reading

Posted in Millennium Development Goals, Post-2015 development framework, Uncategorized | 7 Comments