How much does it cost to achieve universal literacy?

46As events for International Literacy Day continue, new cost estimates have been produced by UNESCO showing that US$14 billion will be needed if the 20 countries with the lowest literacy rates, which are members of the Global Alliance for Literacy (GAL), and the E-9 countries with the largest population in the developing world are to achieve universal functional literacy and numeracy skills by 2030.

The costs are presented in a new study authored by the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL), the UNESCO Division for Policies and Lifelong Learning Systems, and the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS), in collaboration with the GEM Report team. They were based on an extension of the costing model developed by the Report for the 2015 policy paper ‘Pricing the right to education: The cost of reaching new targets by 2030’.  Continue reading

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New photo competition on inclusion and education

1The 2020 GEM Report due out in March 2020 will cover inclusion in education, addressing all those at risk of exclusion from education because of gender, sexual orientation, displacement, migration, ethnicity, language, remoteness, poverty, disability or other characteristics. Pictures speak louder than words when it comes to explaining the way inclusion in education works in practice. This is why the GEM Report is launching an international photo contest to seek out new and original images to complement its innovative findings and analysis. As with every year, the winning photographer will receive a $500 prize.

Our Report challenges policy makers how to build inclusive societies, whether that future is reflected in their education laws, policies and plans, and how these are to be implemented. It calls on all of us to look at whether we are practicing inclusion in the way we educate those around us. It is motivated by the call to ensure an inclusive and equitable quality education in the formulation of SDG 4, the global goal for education. It reminds us that, no matter what argument may be built to the contrary, we have a moral imperative to ensure everyone fulfils their right to an appropriate education of high quality. Continue reading

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About 15-40% of illiterate people come from households in which no member can read

ild-2019-gif-enThis International Literacy Day we want to draw attention to those living in households where no member can read – those we call ‘isolated illiterate individuals’ – whose chances of finding work and enjoying a good quality of life can be worse than they are for others. Census data shows that around 15-40% of illiterate people are isolated. These are precisely the people we should be making even more of an effort to reach.

Who are isolated illiterates?

There are far more isolated illiterate women than men, and far more in rural areas than in urban. In richer countries, isolated illiterates are relatively older than others, whereas the converse is true in poorer countries.

This might be because most people who are illiterate in poorer countries live in multigenerational households and hence are more likely to live alongside younger, more educated family members. By contrast, illiterates in richer countries, such as Greece and Portugal, are less likely to live in such households and more likely to be isolated. Continue reading

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Do you know a champion in inclusion and education?

Help us by nominating those who you believe deserve recognition

5The 2020 Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report due out next March will cover inclusion in education, addressing all those at risk of exclusion from education because of gender, sexual orientation, displacement, migration, ethnicity, language, remoteness, poverty, disability or other characteristics.

Our Report will challenge the extent to which policy makers are building inclusive societies, and whether that is reflected in their education laws, policies and plans, and how they are being implemented. It calls on all of us to look at whether we are practicing inclusion in the way we educate those around us. It is motivated by the call to ensure an inclusive and equitable quality education in the formulation of SDG 4, the global goal for education. It reminds us that, no matter what argument may be built to the contrary, we have a moral imperative to ensure every child has a right to an appropriate education of high quality. Continue reading

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Tell us what you think about inclusion in education

1

September is an important month for inclusion and education – the theme of the 2020 Global Education Monitoring Report due for release next March. Later this month, the International Forum on Inclusion and Equity in Education is being held in Cali, Colombia to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Salamanca Statement. This statement included a Framework for Action whose guiding principle was that ordinary schools should accommodate all children, regardless of their physical, intellectual, social, emotional, linguistic or other conditions.

In order to feed into the discussions and debates about the way that thinking about inclusion in education has changed over the past 25 years since this Statement, we are launching a new survey (French, Spanish, Chinese) to gauge the sentiments and thoughts of parents, teachers and students on the subject. These quotes will bring to life some of the research in the 2020 GEM Report, showing that this is a subject that affects peoples’ lives, and deserves greater attention. Continue reading

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The Wrong Way to Educate Girls

By Manos Antoninis

Getting girls into classrooms remains hugely important in some of the world’s poorest countries, and it can be achieved with targeted measures, say, to make their daily commute safer. But balanced school enrollment numbers are only the beginning. There is also a need to address the underlying causes of unequal educational outcomes.

Hanna-AdcockSave-the-Children

Credit: Credit: Save the Children / Hanna Adcock

Recent decades have brought significant progress toward a more just and equal world in areas such as poverty reduction, immunization, and life expectancy. But in some areas, change has been painfully slow. In one such area – gender equality in education – the problem is as straightforward as it is profound: we are focusing on the wrong metric.

Of course, there is good news. As the UNESCO Global Education Monitoring (GEM) 2019 Gender Report notes, the number of adult illiterate women in upper-middle-income countries fell by 42 million from 2000 to 2016. And progress on enrollment in most countries means that richer countries increasingly face the opposite challenge, as more boys than girls do not complete secondary education.

These disparities expose the limitations of the current approach, which focuses on gender parity – that is, ensuring that equal numbers of boys and girls attend school. Of course, getting girls into classrooms remains hugely important in some of the world’s poorest countries, and it can be achieved with targeted measures, say, to make their daily commute safer. Among the 20 countries with the largest such disparities, Guinea, Niger, and Somalia stand out for their commitment to closing the gap. Continue reading

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Ethiopia is making the fastest progress in primary completion in sub-Saharan Africa. How?

This week, we released new projections to 2030 for the global education goal, SDG 4, along with the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS). While not all projections can be drilled down to the country level, the completion rate projections can and shine a light on some countries that have been making faster progress relative to others. Ethiopia is one of these. What are the reasons for its success and how can others follow its example?

Ethiopia, like many countries in the region, has seen its education system expand quickly over recent years. It has gone from 10 million learners a decade ago to more than 25 million learners today. Despite this vast expansion, the completion rates at the primary school level projected to 2030 are the fastest in the region. It will have gone from only 3 in 10 children completing primary education in 2000 to 8 in 10 completing in 2030. Along with India, it will be topping the list of countries to have reduced their out of school numbers the most in relative terms.

Picture1Money is not always the answer to everything, but it has most definitely played a central role in this story. We learnt a lot about this from analyzing Ethiopia’s 2017 voluntary national review as part of our research for our new publication released this week: Beyond commitments: How countries are implementing SDG 4.

Ethiopia dedicates the second highest proportion of its entire budget to education of any country in the world – 27%. This is far more than the international suggested benchmark of 15-20% and the regional average of 16%. And a quarter of Ethiopia’s budget will not be insignificant given the economic boom we’ve seen in the country, which has witnessed the fastest growth of any in the region, growing by an average of 10% a year from 2006/7 to 2016/7, which is about double the average growth in the region. Continue reading

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