The scale of the global learning crisis, the need to support teachers to address this, and the importance of putting equality at the heart of post-2015 education goals – vital messages from the 2013/4 Education for All Monitoring Report – have been picked up around the world since the report’s launch last week. In her last blog post as director, Pauline Rose underlines the key part the report plays in global education efforts – and the need for its independent monitoring to continue.
I can’t quite believe it – but this is my last day with the Education for All Global Monitoring Report. I have been honoured both to be part of such a great team, as well as working with colleagues in UNESCO and around the world who have such a strong commitment to making Education for All a reality.
When I began as Director two and a half years ago, I set out a vision for the Report, with the aim of harnessing the power of education. Looking back at this statement now, I am reassured to see that our collective efforts have helped to fulfil the three priorities I identified.
The launch last week of the 2013/4 EFA Global Monitoring Report is a clear signal of the power of our collective efforts. It has been a huge success, and our messages have struck home in many countries. Policy-makers have openly acknowledged the need to take on board our recommendations. The global response has also been a tremendous confirmation of the report’s indispensable role.
Our global launch took place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, during the African Union summit. The country is identified in the Report as making great progress thanks to the government’s commitment to education. In recognition of this, as he opened the launch of the Report, the Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen, announced that Ethiopia has become a “Champion Country” for the UN Secretary-General’s Global Education First Initiative. The headline from the Report hit the front pages in Ethiopia as African heads of state arrived in Ethiopia’s capital.
In just the first three days after the launch, media wrote about the findings of the Report in almost 100 countries, reflecting the report’s role as “the world’s most authoritative source to track progress towards the Education for All goals” – as Andreas Schleicher, the OECD’s director of education, described it in a blog post this week.
Decision-makers in four countries with the most children out of school – Nigeria, Pakistan, Ethiopia and India – responded to the report with pledges to renew their commitment to education, and acknowledged the urgent need to improve teaching and learning:
- At the Nigerian launch of the report, Education Minister Nyesom Wike said the government was committed to plugging the gaps in the education sector: “The quality of education is determined by the quality of teachers and, as such, Nigerian teachers must be well-equipped to develop the sector.”
- Pakistan’s state minister for education, Muhammad Balighur Rehman, said at the launch for South and West Asia that took place in Islamabad, Pakistan, that the report would help policy-makers devise their plans.
- In This Is Africa, a Financial Times publication, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn of Ethiopia wrote in an oped prepared to support the Report: “All of us in sub-Saharan Africa need to concentrate on the further steps that will improve learning quality at the same time as we are getting more children into school. Above all, that means improving our teaching, especially for the disadvantaged.”
- At the launch in India, Delhi’s education minister Manish Sisodia said progress would only be made if money is invested and education becomes a priority.
And Education Minister Farook Wardak of Afghanistan – a country which is also likely to have more than a million children out of school – said at the regional launch in South and West Asia, “According to the GMR, due to lack of adequate attention to education quality and ignoring the marginalised, 250 million children, majority of them in this region, are not learning the basics.[…] We need to prevent waste in our systems, manage effectively and efficiently, innovate smart strategies and focus on teachers and the learning environment for quality learning.[…] We are committed to continue our efforts to steadily increase allocation for education out of Afghanistan’s national budget.”
These positive responses underline the crucial role of the EFA Global Monitoring Report in using hard evidence to track education progress, and in holding countries to account for their promises to meet the Education for All goals.
As we have shown in this year’s report, the EFA goals won’t be reached by 2015, and a major reason is that education efforts have not sufficiently targeted the disadvantaged, including girls, the poor and children in rural areas. That’s why this year’s report also makes the case for equity to be at the centre of global education goals after 2015, and for clear, measurable targets not just for countries but also for disadvantaged groups and regions within countries.
To monitor those new goals and hold the global education movement to its commitments, I firmly believe that is essential that the EFA Global Monitoring Report’s mandate and resources be renewed for the post-2015 period, regardless of which option the international community chooses when deciding how education goals fit into the global development framework. Indeed, I have been hearing time and again in recent months that many others, including policy-makers, NGOs, donor agencies and colleagues in UNESCO and other UN agencies, also support the continuation of the independent report. Those in other sectors look to this rich resource that we have in education as a model that they aspire to. To all of you who find the Report a useful tool for your own work on education, I hope you will join me in advocating for the Report to continue.
In the meantime, work has already started on the 2015 report, which will provide a definitive global assessment of overall progress towards the EFA goals since 2000 and draw lessons for the framing of post-2015 education goals and strategies. There will soon be an open consultation to gather your views, ideas and evidence to support the development of this important report – at the end of the 15-year period. And the report team will continue to spread the messages of the 2013/4 report over the coming year, through a series of blogs, policy papers and events.
Today is my last day on the report team, after two and a half years as director of the report and three years before that as senior policy analyst. But I’ll be keeping a close eye on the fortunes of the report, and continuing to support it, from my new post as Professor of International Education at the University of Cambridge.
It’s been a great privilege to contribute to the report’s efforts – and to see its global impact grow. I’d like to express here my deep gratitude to all of you who collaborate with the team in preparing the Report and ensuring its wide outreach, and who read the report and draw on its findings in your own advocacy for education for all. Most of all I would like to thank the EFA Global Monitoring Report team who work so tirelessly to make sure the Report is such a success.