Want proof of what’s possible in education? You’ll find it in Korea.

by Andreas Schleicher, Director for Education and Skills, and Special Advisor on Education Policy to the Secretary-General for the OECD


Last week, UNESCO and six other UN agencies convened world leaders in education in Incheon, Republic of Korea, to establish the post-2015 development priorities for education. They could have hardly picked a better place to push the international community to significantly raise education ambitions so that high-quality learning will become a reality for all.

Korea provides an amazing example of how education can leverage social progress and become the key agent of change. Two generations ago, Korea had the same level of economic development that Afghanistan has today, and one of the least-developed education systems. Today, Korea is one of the driving forces of the OECD, and Korea’s school system comes out on top of our global PISA metrics for the quality of education. Continue reading

Posted in Adult education, Asia, Basic education, Developed countries, Developing countries, Equality, Equity, Governance, Millennium Development Goals, Out-of-school children, Post-2015 development framework, Post-secondary education, Pre-primary education, Primary school, Sustainable development | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

The Global [Education] Monitoring Report has a new mandate for the next fifteen years

WEFThe mandate of our report, known since Dakar as the EFA Global Monitoring Report (EFA GMR), has been formally prolonged. This mandate and our new name, the Global Education Monitoring Report, has been cemented in the Incheon Declaration adopted at the World Education Forum (WEF):

“…We request that the EFA GMR be continued as an independent Global Education Monitoring Report (GEMR), hosted and published by UNESCO, as the mechanism for monitoring and reporting on the proposed SDG 4 and on education in the other proposed SDGs, within the mechanism to be established to monitor and review the implementation of the proposed SDGs.” [paragraph 18]

Building on the reputation the EFA GMR has built since 2002, the new Global Education Monitoring Report (GEM Report) series will continue to strive to be a comprehensive, authoritative and evidence-based report on education progress 2015-2030. It will take the charge on monitoring country progress on the proposed Sustainable Development Goal on education, its 10 targets and education related targets in other SDGs. It will continue to react to emerging issues and challenges that might affect progress towards these targets, just as the EFA GMR did in its 2011 report on conflict, its 2012 report on youth skills and unemployment, and its 2013/4 report on teaching and learning.

As outlined during a special session at the WEF, ‘Global and regional coordination and monitoring mechanisms’, the new mandate presents several challenges to the GEM Report. It will need to monitor a much broader set of international targets than before, including covering formal and non-formal education, developed and developing countries, and state and non-state provision. It must do this at the same time as continuing to report back on the progress of the EFA agenda until the 2015 data is released.

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Education 2030: Equity and quality with a lifelong learning perspective

WEFThis blog shows how the World Inequality Database on Education (WIDE) helps track inequalities in education over time and across countries. It reveals a new finding from the database, released to coincide with the World Education Forum at Incheon, that the poorest young women are six times less likely to be able to read than the richest.

Five words are making the headlines in Incheon at the third World Education Forum: equity, inclusion, learning, quality, and lifelong learning.

wide_logoSince 2002, the EFA Global Monitoring Report has worked in different ways to keep these five themes high on the international education agenda. But one of its tools, the World Inequality Database on Education (WIDE), has since 2012 proven particularly effective in serving this purpose. WIDE is interactive and enables users to compare education outcomes between countries, and between groups within countries, according to factors associated with inequality such as wealth, gender, ethnicity and location. Moreover, users can create charts, infographics and tables from the data, and download, print or share them online.

The database is updated each year. In 2013/4, completion rates for primary and lower secondary education were reported, which gave a more insightful picture of how far we were from achieving key aspects of the EFA vision. In addition, results from learning achievement surveys were added to the usual measures of school participation.  In 2015, WIDE has been expanded to include information on upper secondary completion, transition rates to secondary education, and youth literacy rates. In addition, national surveys were included for large countries like Brazil, India, Mexico, Morocco, and South Africa, which have not been covered regularly by the two main international household survey programmes, the USAID-funded Demographic and Health Survey and the UNICEF Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey.

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Posted in Basic education, Equality, Equity, Pre-primary education, Primary school, Quality of education | 4 Comments

Civil society priorities at the World Education Forum

WEFBy David Archer, Head of Programmes, ActionAid and Board member of Global Campaign for Education. This is the first in a series of blogs leading up to and reacting to the World Education Forum taking place in Incheon Korea 19-22 May.

Over 250 NGOs will be meeting in Incheon in the days preceding the World Education Forum (WEF) – and they will also participate fully in the main event. Many of these organisations were also present in Dakar in 2000 and some were even present in Jomtien in 1990. Whereas government delegations will almost certainly be wholly new, surprisingly NGOs can offer real continuity – and through working with the Global Campaign for Education, they are developing an increasingly harmonised voice.

NGOs have already been actively contributing to and commenting on the Draft Declaration and Framework for Action (FFA) for the WEF. We particularly welcome the reassertion of education as a fundamental human right, the commitment to 12 years of free primary and secondary education, of which 9 years are compulsory, the focus on overcoming all forms of discrimination, the broad conception of quality and the centrality of teachers. We strongly support the commitment to align the final draft of the FFA with what emerges in New York summit in September –so long as the UN General Assembly does not diminish the present targets and that where ‘x%’ appears at present it is replaced by ‘all’.

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Posted in Basic education, Citizenship, Democracy, mdgs, Millennium Development Goals, Post-2015 development framework, sdgs | 6 Comments

New proposed indicators to monitor the post-2015 education framework

By Albert Motivans, Head of Education Statistics, UNESCO Institute for Statistics and Manos Antoninis, Senior Policy Analyst, Education for All Global Monitoring Report.

The post-2015 sustainable development agenda, including the education goal, has received praise for its ambitious and universal scope. The challenge now lies in developing a solid monitoring framework, which can be used to track progress towards the targets while helping to focus international efforts on areas that might be left behind.

WEFThis blog presents the proposal – by the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) established by UNESCO – for a set of indicators to monitor the post-2015 education targets. This proposal will be presented at a special session of the World Education Forum in Incheon on 20 May.  The proposal complements the draft Framework for Action on Education 2030, which will be debated at the Forum.

The TAG proposal includes 42 thematic indicators that could be used to monitor education progress globally. Ultimately, it is expected that about six to ten of these indicators will be selected by the United Nations Statistical Commission to monitor progress towards the Sustainable Development Goal 4 on education, while the broader set of indicators proposed will be used to monitor progress towards the 10 education targets under this Goal.

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Posted in Basic education, Equality, Equity, Millennium Development Goals, sdgs | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Does getting pregnant cause girls to drop out of school?

By Stephanie Psaki, research associate focusing on girls education for the Population Council.

Globally, “schoolgirl pregnancy” is cited as one of the primary barriers to girls’ education. In some cases – as in Sierra Leone currently – pregnant girls may be prohibited from attending school. In other cases, pregnant girls or new mothers are unable to return to school for other reasons. But does pregnancy really cause girls to drop out of school? The story may not be as simple as it seems.

Photo: Eduardo Martino / EFA Report UNESCO

Photo: Eduardo Martino / EFA Report UNESCO

Yes, an adolescent girl’s formal education is usually over the moment she becomes a mother. Laws and culture often discourage girls from returning to school after giving birth. Unmarried girls may be pressured to marry the father of the child. Married or not, having a child can put an adolescent girl under intense financial strain. Finding work might be the only way to provide for her young family. Going back to school may feel impossible.

So how do we intervene? What can be done to support adolescent girls — to help those who want to prevent pregnancy and stay in school, and to help girls who give birth to continue their education?

Before intervening, it’s important to understand the different possible causes of school dropout. Is pregnancy the only issue? Could there be other factors in a girl’s life that make her both more likely to become pregnant and more likely to leave school prematurely?

Picture two countries: We’ll call them Country A and Country B. In both countries, 25 percent of girls have a pregnancy before they leave school.

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Private schools: punishing the poorest, or providing much needed access to education?

By Joanna Härmä, Research Officer for the EFA Global Monitoring Report and Aaron Benavot, Director of the EFA Global Monitoring Report. This blog first appeared on the education in crisis website.

UK DFID via Flickr

UK DFID via Flickr

Private education, on the rise since the World Education Forum convened in Dakar (2000), is the subject of heated debate, with many asking: where governments are unwilling or unable to provide quality education for all children, should relatively poor parents be made to pay, even low fees, for access to basic education during the compulsory grades? And for parents who ‘choose’ the private school option, what are they really getting for their money? These issues are addressed, in part, in the 2015 Education for All Global Monitoring Report, launched last week entitled ‘Education for All 2000-2015: Achievement and Challenges.’

Particularly controversial in this debate is the role of small, ‘low-fee private’ schools targeting relatively poor families and communities. These schools, often established in cities in the Global South, are springing up unplanned and largely unregulated, where government provision is perceived to be failing or, in some cases, simply absent. This is clearly the situation in the sprawling urban slums in Lagos, Nairobi and New Delhi. As the 2015 GMR shows, over 40% of the poorest families in Kenya’s slums attend private schools.

The umbrella term ‘private school’ covers a whole array of more accurately labelled non-state schools: schools run by NGOs, charities or philanthropic groups, as well as faith-based and community schools. Some, though not all, of these schools charge parents higher or lower fees for their child’s attendance. Some schools may receive government subsidies or other types of funding beyond user-fees, making the line between the private and the public schools blurred and complicated.

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