Education is the fundamental principle that enables citizens to develop their own perspective of the world. As Malala Yousazfai said at the United Nations, “one child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world”. Education gifts people with a voice, it allows understanding of your rights and duties, and it provides a person with the knowledge to lead a healthy and fulfilling life. However, despite the importance of receiving an education, in 2012, 58 million children were still out of school. Moreover, there are huge gender gaps in youth literacy rates. According to the United Nations 60 per cent of the adults and youth who lack basic reading and writing skills are women. It is crucial to think over this data and to take measures in this regard.
Since the establishment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) there has been a rise in the number of children who have access to education. However, in most of the cases the opportunities have only been given to the children who come from developed countries, which have the resources to assure that its citizens’ rights will be respected.
As a result, more than half of out-of-school children come from sub-Saharan African countries such as Sudan, Nigeria, Burkina Faso and Chad. It must be noted that the educational MDG goal, which established that by the year 2015 universal primary education would be guaranteed, and the specific targets set by Education For All (EFA, a global movement led by UNESCO to provide education for all children and adults) have not been accomplished. There is still a lot to do to ensure equal opportunities in terms of education. The United Nations has decided not to give up their will and continue working to eradicate illiteracy by the creation of the new Post-2015 Development Agenda. With regard to education, the Post-2015 framework will direct all actions towards ensuring an inclusive and equitable quality education, paying more or less attention to the countries depending on their prospects of guaranteeing their citizens the right of education. In addition, new systems of accountability will be applied to assure better monitoring of education services to all stakeholders.
I believe that in order to ensure the highest standard of productivity and performance, the United Nations Post-2015 Development Agenda should be joined together with EFA. During the last decade both departments have pursued the same goal, but even though they have worked alongside each other in many aspects, they have tackled different programs and strategies to achieve their will. The achievement of MDGs requires a lot of investment and effort. Therefore, a more logical solution would be to unite both organisations, which would result in more financial means as well as higher productivity and better results. We can see similarities between both institutions in the goals they defined: the second goal of the MDGs aims to “Ensure that, by 2015, children everywhere, boys and girls alike, will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling” and the second goal of EFA aims to “Provide free and compulsory primary education for all”. The third goal of the MDGs aims to “Eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education, preferably by 2005, and in all levels of education no later than 2015” and fifth goal of EFA aims to “Achieve gender parity by 2005, gender equality by 2015”. These institutions should coordinate their work to assure that their efforts have the best results. In my opinion, it would be more productive to think about different mechanisms of achieving the targets than working on the composition of two agendas that, in the end, contain the same data.
The education section of the Post-2015 Development Agenda offers a new opportunity to reconsider the work carried out in these past few years, as to drive reforms and strengthen global development. Nowadays, setting goals is not enough to achieve global scholarly achievement. In order to attain the targets we have to take action and make the world aware of the importance of global education.
María Godino Cornejo
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