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Education Commission Outlines Four-Stage Plan to Get Back on Track for Universal Learning

Education Commission Outlines Four-Stage Plan to Get Back on Track for Universal Learning

At the beginning of the month, a report commissioned by UNESCO—the 2016 Global Education Monitoring Report—found it is more than 50 years off from achieving its goal of providing the world’s children with universal access to K-12 education by 2030.

The report urged world leaders and individuals to commit to improving education on a universal level to in turn provide more of it, especially in less developed countries.

 

The struggle to provide universal education by 2030

"On current trends only 70% of children in low-income countries will complete primary school in 2030, a goal that should have been achieved in 2015. We need the political will, the policies, the innovation and the resources to buck this trend,” the report said.

This week, a follow-up from International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity (the Education Commission) has created a first-of-its-kind budget to make universal, high-quality primary and secondary education accessible to all by 2030, not 2084.

The budget aims to help the 1.3 billion children in low- and middle-income countries "attain at minimum the same level of basic skills achieved by children in high-income countries today.”

Avoiding a global education crisis

Strengthening education on a global level is referred to by the commission as something that should be a main priority in the next 15 years. Otherwise, it warns that a global education crisis is on the horizon.

"The Commission finds that the unequal distribution of opportunities fuels further discontent—eagerly exploited by extremists, especially in the Middle East and North Africa—and is a critical motivating factor for mass migration. Evidence shows that the failure to provide education for young children in conflict countries like Syria propels migration to Europe,” said the Education Commission in a statement.

"We can be the first generation . . . in which every single child is at school"

The Commission lays out a four-stage plan that it says should be adhered to in order to avoid crisis.

First, it says that all countries should be adopting reforms made by countries that have already been successful in improving education, primarily by going digital.

Second, all low-income countries should be spending at least five percent of national income on education as opposed to three percent.

The third phase requires international institutions to pool resources in order to invest on a global scale and ensure that efforts are not hindered by a lack of funds.

"The Commission proposes major reform of the global institutions and calls for a new consortium of multilateral development banks that will pool resources, in part by leveraging the flows to the World Bank from repayment of past debts. By raising their commitment to education to 15 per cent of their combined budgets, they can generate an additional $20 billion annually by 2030—increasing the number of qualified learners to a level ten times the number today in low-income countries," it said in a statement. 

The final phase of the plan requires the world to unite to ensure that aid raises to $35-a-child per year by 2030, a financial commitment that the Commission says is less than $1 per week and "hardly a wasteful use of the world's resources.”

Gordon Brown, the chair of the Education Commission and UN Special Envoy for Global Education, said with confidence in the statement that if the plan is adhered to, “we can be the first generation in history in which every single child is at school.”

Read more about the report here.

Nicole Gorman, Senior Education World Contributor

9/19/2016

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