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 | 3 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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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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Posted in Basic education, Youth | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

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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Good news: UNESCO’s Executive Board unanimously sign up to protect “Learning without Fear”

By Catherine Jere, Research Officer for the EFA Global Monitoring Report and author of the recent paper ‘School-related gender-based violence is preventing the achievement of quality education for all‘.

In March, for International Women’s Day, UNGEI, UNESCO and the EFA Global Monitoring Report produced a new paper showing that gender-based violence in and around schools prevents millions of children worldwide from fulfilling their academic potential and calling for urgent action to combat school-related gender-based violence (SRGBV). The paper called for a consensus on how SRGBV should be understood and addressed, and supported a call made in October by H.E. Ms Annick Girardin, Minister of State for Development and Francophony, for a UNESCO decision on school-related gender-based violence.

As a result, we are delighted to announce that, at the end of last week, fifty-eight countries signed up to the decision, “Learning without Fear”, condemning gender-based violence in all its forms and manifestations. Countries committed themselves to design and implement national policies and action plans; and to promote the creation of safe, non-violent, inclusive and effective learning environments for all boys and girls. The decision also invites the Director-General to submit a roadmap to better combat school-related gender-based violence to the Executive Board this time next year.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Among the countries who signed up to the decision were Uganda, who said that this was long overdue, that would help children speak out about the violence they have experienced; Austria encouraged UNESCO to seize this moment to shed more light on the issue; India commended the insight and thoughtfulness of the text, and suggested it could be used as a template for UNESCO’s action on discrimination against other marginalised groups.

Morocco presented policies it had implemented on SRGBV as food for thought for others signing up to do the same. Two nationwide studies were carried out on the issue in 2005 and 2007. Two additional enquiries were carried out on drug abuse in schools in 2009 and 2012. These studies helped expose the prevalence of violence in schools, and led to preventative actions, including creating regional and provincial centres where incidences of SRGBV can be reported, improving coordination between Ministries of Justice and Health and National Security and building partnerships of cooperation between different departments and civil society at regional and local levels. At the school level, Morocco’s preventative strategy also involved improving lighting and security around school buildings, engaging parenting associations to be aware of the issue, preparing procedural guidance documents for heads of schools in case of SRGBV incidences, and organising training sessions on the rights of the child.

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Posted in Basic education, Gender, school violence, Sexual violence | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Vote for Education!

vote forToday marks the launch of GCE’s Global Action Week, calling on us all to ‘Vote for Education’. The campaign calls on people worldwide to help set the future direction of education for the next generation. Fifteen years to the day from the Dakar conference that set forth an expanded EFA vision and a set of six concrete goals, it calls on activists to find out what has worked since 2000 and what didn’t.

Just two weeks ago we launched the new EFA Report ‘Education for All 2000-2015: achievements and challenges, which showed that that there has not been overall success in achieving Education for All, but acknowledges dramatic progress by some countries along the way. This blog celebrates the successful efforts of some countries since Dakar, and extracts lessons we can learn from their achievements. Their stories are a huge source of optimism as we establish a new vision for the next 15 years.

(Goal 1) Early childhood care and education: Ghana

Lesson: At least one year of compulsory pre-primary education should be provided as part of an extended basic education cycle.

“Major interventions to improve early childhood care and education have included the abolition of school fees; support for needy pupils; production and supply of teaching and learning materials, staff capacity-building; provision of school uniforms and meals; mainstreaming kindergarten, and stronger collaboration among ministries and between schools and communities.” Prof. Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang, Hon. Minister for Education of the Republic of Ghana, Ghana

At the time of Dakar, just under half of children were attending pre-school in Ghana, while now there is universal enrolment. Ghana stood out from its neighbours in already having ECCE policies in 2000. Since then it has abolished school fees at this level, made pre-primary education compulsory for two years starting at age 3, dedicated resources to school materials and training teachers, all while providing extra support for the most disadvantaged children. Currently, The New Education Strategic Plan (2010-2020) provides a series of public-awareness campaigns to boost the image of early childhood education in the eyes of the public. The steady growth in enrolment rates speaks for itself.

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