On the occasion of the launch of the EFA Global Monitoring Report 2015: Education for All 2000-2015: Achievements and Challenges, many key dignitaries assembled on three different continents to discuss the Report’s findings and the implications for education in the future.
The Director General’s conclusion on the verdict given in the Report on the Education for All movement was complemented by remarks from many high profile speakers over the course of the day. Some of these remarks are listed here:
Director General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova: There has been tremendous progress across the world since 2000 – but we are not there yet. Despite all efforts by governments, civil society and the international community, the world has not achieved Education for All.
So much has been achieved since 2000 – we need to do far more, to ensure quality education and lifelong learning for all. There is simply no more powerful or longer- lasting investment in human rights and dignity, in social inclusion and sustainable development. Experience since 2000 shows what can be done – we need to draw on this to do more.
United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon: We know that when we work together and invest in the future, the sky is the limit for young people. Let us harness the power of education to build a better future for all.
Chernor Bah, Member of the High-Level Steering Committee for the UN Secretary General’s Global Education First Initiative: If I got 50% in class, my father wouldn’t be happy with me. It’s a devastating failure from the international community. Young people want an end to broken promises.
Kailash Satyarthi, Nobel Peace prize winner and Chairperson, Global march against child labour: 1 child out of school is 1 too many. Young people are getting more intolerant. There is a risk of irreparable violence. We urgently need to find a sense of mutual respect through education.
Geeta Rao Gupta, Deputy Executive Director, UNICEF: Addressing inequity has to be central in the SDGs. The MDGs gave us the momentum we needed to move forward, but behind these averages were pockets of persistent inequalities we weren’t paying attention to. Let’s set milestones, and report on our progress, so we can be sure we’re reaching the marginalized.
Jeffrey Sachs, Director, The Earth Institute & Director, UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network: In this excellent report I want to draw our attention to one sentence page 297 that says ‘yet clearly things must change drastically if there’s to be any hope of carrying out the new agenda’. We have to raise our voices. This is completely crazy that in the 21st century we have this type of lack of access. It’s dangerous. It condemns these countries to instability, and makes it impossible to reach sustainable development.
Alice Albright, Chief Executive Officer, Global Partnership for Education: The GMR is an incredibly important tool, not just because of the data, but because it helps us face the facts – the facts that every parent in every country that isn’t delivering a great education knows already every day. There are a number of real problems: Insufficiency, lack of predictability. Donors and governments and philanthropists come and go and come and go but it is inconsistent and this lack of predictability makes planning at a sector level virtually impossible.
DAC chair, Eric Solheim: This report will forever be the reference point for all wanting an assessment of how EFA did. However, we should not look to aid to solve education issues, but should look to ministers who could be tapping better into tax payers money. Political will, such as that shown by Senegal and Morocco, and in Singapore and Korea, whose investment in education has led to massive economic growth per capita, should be applauded.
H.E. Mr. Rachid Benmokhtar, Minister of National Education and Vocational Training, Morocco: We should be wary of statistics as averages can hide disparities. It was only when they started using household surveys that they found the real reason girls weren’t going to school wasn’t because of child marriage, but was because they were being harassed on way to school. Drop outs weren’t because of distance to school, but because of quality.
H.E. Ms. Naana Jane Opoku-Agyeman, Minister for Education in Ghana: Governments in Ghana have prioritised education since 2000. Funding for education is 34% of our budget now. This translates into training, salaries, tuition for students, plans to make post basic education progressively free. We are also looking at continuously removing all barriers to education, whether gender or geography or economics, and paying special attention to the disadvantaged with school meals, uniforms – because children all want to look the same – and with provisional school supplies. We’re working on shoes even, and learning materials.
H.E. Ms. Chitralekha Yadav, Minister for Education in Nepal: We have come so far towards the Education for All goals. We know education is the most powerful instrument and we need to ensure quality education to all but for this, we have to work together. We need a committed global partnership. As a nation we have achieved a lot. We are trying our best. We are investing a lot. But we lack resources and budget. We have done very well, but still we see a lot more remains to be done, and it is here the commitment of all of us is needed to move towards achieving the education for all goals together.