As the world marks International Day for Eradication of Poverty, it is crucial to spread the message that equal access to quality education plays a key role in eradicating poverty.
Since 1990, although rates have been cut in half, 21% of the world’s population still lives in extreme poverty. It is vital to step up efforts to give these people a better chance of a decent and fulfilling life. Education has a central role to play in such efforts.
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The EFA Global Monitoring Report’s Education Transforms booklet shows that education not only helps individuals escape poverty by developing the skills they need to improve their livelihoods, but also generates productivity gains that fuel economic growth. While growth does not automatically reduce poverty, without it sustained poverty reduction is not possible.
Our recent analysis, released at the United Nation General Assembly last month, shows that for growth to reduce poverty, it needs to overcome inequality by improving the lives of the poorest and marginalized the most. Education is vital to achieve this goal because it can help ensure that the benefits of growth are fairly shared.
By Sunny Varkey, founder and trustee of the Varkey GEMS Foundation, is a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for education partnerships
I am immensely proud that my parents were teachers. I recently asked my mother what she believed they had achieved by becoming teachers. She spoke fondly about the goodwill that they enjoyed locally. Teachers were often the most educated people in a community, so were turned to for advice and guidance.
Sadly, times have changed. In many countries, teachers’ status has fallen. This decline is profoundly damaging for the life chances of the next generation. If teachers aren’t respected in society, children won’t listen to them in class, parents won’t reinforce the messages that are coming from school and the most talented graduates will continue to disregard teaching as a profession.
To draw attention to the importance of how society sees teachers, the Varkey GEMS Foundation created the Global Teacher Status Index, published this month, which measures the level of respect for teachers in different countries.
My personal ambition for teachers is that they are treated with as much respect as other highly skilled professionals with the most important jobs in society, such as doctors. However, out of 21 countries surveyed in the index, only in China did people see teachers as having an equal status with doctors. In the United Kingdom, by contrast, fewer than 5% of people thought that teachers had an equivalent status.
With 31 million girls of primary school age out of school, and 17 million expected never to enter school at all, the situation for girls’ education desperately needs addressing. But why does it matter? This Friday is International Day of the Girl Child, where individuals and organisations around the globe will be coming together to highlight the plight of the girl child and to make demands for improvements in girls’ education. We are joining the call by highlighting the enormous benefit that education has on improving the lives of girls and women, and the lives of those around them.
For a large number of girls, getting a good education can be a matter of life or death. For many others it affects their health and that of their families, their rights to equal employment opportunities and pay, and their chance to marry later and to choose when and how many children they have.
As this photo and infographic board shows, educating girls can transform societies for the better. For more information, download our Girls’ Education Factsheet and see our Education Transforms website.
Posted in Basic education, Developing countries, Employment, Environment, Equality, Equity, Gender, Literacy, Marginalization, Millennium Development Goals, Out-of-school children, Quality of education, Uncategorized
Tagged education, Education for All, equality, equity, Gender, girls, post-2015, post2015
By Albert Motivans, head of education indicators and data analysis, UNESCO Institute of Statistics, and Pauline Rose, director of the Education for All Global Monitoring Report
This year’s World Teachers’ Day, on October 5, focuses on one of the most urgent global education problems: a huge shortage of professional, well-trained and well-supported teachers.
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The scale of the global teacher gap is revealed in new figures released this week by the UNESCO Institute of Statistics (UIS). About 58% of countries and territories around the world currently do not have enough teachers in classrooms to achieve universal primary education (UPE) by 2015 – the second Education for All goal and the major education target in the Millennium Developments Goals.
Countries will need an extra 1.6 million teachers to achieve universal primary education by 2015 and 3.3 million by 2030, according to the UIS. The forthcoming 2013/14 Education for All Global Monitoring Report will elaborate on these figures and examine the policies and resources needed to bridge the teacher gap.
World Teacher’s Day will be marked on October 4 by special events around the world, including the launches at UNESCO in Paris and at UNICEF in New York of a year of action in favour of quality education organized by Education International, the global teachers’ federation. The launches will include contributions by UNESCO’s director-general, Irina Bokova; the UN secretary-general’s Special Envoy for Education, Gordon Brown; and Pauline Rose, director of the EFA Global Monitoring Report.
Today’s new findings include not just the huge number of primary teachers needed but also those needed to ensure that all children can complete lower secondary school – 5.1 million by 2030. Lower secondary schooling is already considered compulsory in most countries of the world and universal participation is widely expected to form part of the post-2015 global education goals.
By Fred van Leeuwen, general secretary of Education International, the global federation of teacher unions
It is clear that the world will not meet the goal of universal primary education by the year 2015 as planned in the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals. That is the bad news.
Photo: © Reporters
But it’s very important to state the good news as well; primary school enrolment has increased by more than 10% over the past decade. And more than that, gender participation gaps have narrowed and more students are making the transition to secondary school.
In any endeavour, more so in such a critical global priority as the education of our children, it is vital that we be objective about the evidence; that we use facts and our experience of events to chart a course for the future.
From the perspective of the world’s teachers, the evidence shows us that the international focus must be widened beyond mere access to education. Access to quality education is critical and can no longer be ignored. Unfortunately, millions of students around the world who have been enrolled in school, even for a period of years, cannot read or write at even a basic level. And the issue of quality is not reserved to the Third World. One recent study said that although the United States spends more than $3.7 billion a year in school costs, “too many students are not learning the basic skills needed to succeed in college or work while they are in high school.”
The roadmap for the international development agenda after 2015 was approved yesterday at a special event at the UN General Assembly. The UN Secretary-General said that the post‐2015 framework “must be bold in ambition yet simple in design, supported by a new partnership for development”. Here we review whether the vision outlined in the outcome document will achieve the bold ambitions being discussed for new education goals, and provide suggestions for where we need to go from here.
The outcome document released after the special event on the Millennium Development Goals in New York celebrated progress made so far, but lamented the distance still to travel for many countries and disadvantaged groups before many goals could be met. The document also contained a vision for new goals that will be formalized for the post-2015 agenda. It paid attention to ‘what’ needs addressing; if we want to have greater success with new goals than with the MDGs, we must now urgently turn our attention to ‘how’.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the UN General Assembly. UN Photo/Sarah Fretwell
The working group at the special event has carefully merged the two frameworks for a new development agenda that were being suggested by sustainable and millennium development groups. The document also clearly outlines key reasons why there are still 57 million children out of school with less than 850 days to go until 2015. It recognizes that marginalization, poverty and conflict must be addressed head-on in a new agenda to achieve universal primary education and other goals. A day before the document was finalized, there was a successful ‘Education Cannot Wait’ event at the UN General Assembly highlighting our figures that half of out-of-school children live in conflict-affected countries, and that this proportion has been rising. It is reassuring that practically a full paragraph is devoted to the particular challenges of achieving progress in the MDGs in countries affected by humanitarian emergencies in the outcome document.
In September 2012, the United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, launched the Global Education First Initiative. To mark the one-year anniversary of the Initiative, the Education for All Global Monitoring Report has been asked to prepare an independent, light touch review. Today, we are publishing draft recommendations. This draft is intended to gather further feedback on the progress of the Initiative in its first year, and to identify ways for the Initiative to be most effective in the future. The GMR will present a final review and recommendations at the next meeting of GEFI’s Steering Committee.
The Global Education First Initiative (GEFI) was established by the United Nations Secretary-General at the UN General Assembly in September 2012, with three priorities: getting every child into school, improving the quality of education, and fostering global citizenship. After one year of the Initiative, the GMR’s review finds that education stakeholders broadly agree that it has provided much-needed ‘glue’ to bring together the multiple activities of the education community. The Learning for All Ministerial and Malala Day are two distinctive moments associated with GEFI which are commonly recognized as bringing attention to the sector at a time when its profile has been waning.
Photo: © UNICEF/NYHQ2006-1470/GIACOMO PIROZZI
A large part of GEFI’s impact on the international stage is recognized as being due to the United Nations Secretary General’s endorsement of education, giving the sector international legitimacy at a moment when it was slipping down the agenda. The Secretary-General’s commitment to education is further exemplified by his appointment of a UN Special Envoy for Education, the first time the sector has had such a representative.