By Pauline Rose, director of the EFA Global Monitoring Report
As the post-2015 goal-setting process continues, education has increasingly been discussed as not only a development goal in its own right, but also a key way of reaching other development goals. And for good reason: a country that provides free access to quality education for all its citizens is far more likely to reduce poverty, promote economic growth, lower child and maternal mortality and achieve social inclusion. Two recent consultations highlight the importance of education and learning.
The recent draft Executive Summary for the United Nations World We Want Post-2015 Global Consultation on Education positions education as both a human right and the foundation for development. The summary, which is open for comments until May 27, calls for new goals to focus not just on access, but also on quality of learning. The focus on quality is welcome: as we found in the 2012 EFA Global Monitoring Report, education systems must address the fact that 250 million young people – including many who are in school – lack basic literacy and numeracy. The World We Want summary identifies the crucial role that teachers play in providing quality education, which will be a major topic in our upcoming 2013/2014 EFA Global Monitoring Report, on teaching and learning for development
The draft Executive Summary does an excellent job of framing the urgent need for equitable education. However, ultimately a clearer goal will need to be defined to ensure that progress toward quality Education for All is clear and measurable. The Executive Summary uses the proposed goal from the expert meeting in Dakar several months ago, “Equitable quality lifelong education and learning for all”, as its proposed overarching education goal. As I mentioned in an earlier post after the Dakar meeting, the terms “lifelong education” is open to different interpretations, and thus lacks the clarity necessary for the international community to adopt and measure progress toward this goal. We must ensure that post-2015 education goals are clearly and simply stated, measurable and have equity at their heart.