2014 was a year spent reflecting on past achievements in education and their implications for international policy commitments in 2015 and beyond. Our blog remained a popular online hub and the year’s most frequently read posts reflect key topics of discussion and debate emerging during this pivotal historical period:
The year began with the launch of the 2014 Report. The report focused on the importance of ensuring quality education for all, a topic of long-standing interest that gained renewed attention in this year’s report. An overview of the report highlights can be found in the blog, “Teaching and Learning: Achieving quality for all”.
The issue of good quality education was further emphasized in our Teacher Tuesday blogging project which told teachers’ stories from across the globe. The teachers talked of running classes during the conflict in Syria, grappling with multilingual classrooms in Honduras, fighting to overcome gender barriers in Afghanistan, teaching in the largest urban slum in Africa, dealing with the pressure of teacher shortages in Malawi and much more. The blogs highlighted the urgent need to increase education resources, hire qualified teachers and provide in-service training opportunities once teachers are in the classroom.
Women and education
In the post, Women’s education helps avert child marriage, the vital role that education plays in reducing child marriage and pregnancy was explored. Education gives girls and women the power to overcome discrimination. They become more aware of their rights and gain greater confidence and freedom to make life changing decisions on their own.
The photo blog: The state of girls’ education around the world highlights the chronic shortage of female teachers and the impact this has on the number of girls that enroll in school and finish their studies. It recommends that the post-2015 education goal include an explicit commitment to equity in education with clear, measureable targets and indicators to track progress.
Several blogs in 2014 focused on the need to improve skill development for young people. In Youth is more than the theme of the day; it’s the theme of the decade, we revisited the 2012 report and looked at the need for outcome-oriented targets to ensure effective policy reform.
As part of a series of guest blogs, Abbie Raikes, Programme Specialist at UNESCO, explored the challenges of measuring early childhood development and learning and looked at how the post-2015 “data revolution” can work on behalf of young children.
Mother Tongue Education
Our 2014 report laid out strategies to ensure that children from minority backgrounds acquire strong foundation skills. In the blog, Children need to be taught in their mother language, we looked at how teaching children in an unfamiliar language can actually set them back. A bilingual and sequenced approach that includes mother tongue and the later introduces a second language, improves literacy acquisition and performance in other subjects.
A newly launched booklet, Sustainable development begins with education, looked at education as a catalyst for each of the proposed post-2015 sustainable development goals including: Poverty reduction; nutrition improvement; health and wellbeing; education; gender equality and women’s empowerment; water and energy sustainability; economic growth and decent work; inequality reduction; environmental protection; and peace and just inclusive societies. The booklet emphasized collaboration across sectors as the only way to achieve comprehensible, equitable and lasting development.
Our final most popular post of 2014, Learning today for a sustainable future, highlighted an important point: while access to education is essential, equity and inclusion are also crucial factors for real progress in education. The post also looked at effective non-formal and second-chance learning programmes that provide critical opportunities for young people to return to school and acquire necessary life-skills.
We look forward to continuing to work together to improve education around the world and would like to thank our many readers and contributors. Wishing you all a wonderful New Year!