The High-Level Panel, which was constituted by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to advise on a global post-2015 development agenda, has released its report.
The panel has held a number of consultations involving civil society, the private sector, academia and research institutions from all regions, in addition to the UN system, to advance this framework beyond 2015.
EI has advocated for a strong emphasis on education in the new framework, taking part in the Panel’s discussions in Liberia, and Bali, Indonesia and is currently undertaking Education for All Assessments.
The most recent one took place in Accra, Ghana. EI has produced two videos about these events, highlighting the importance of an on-going dialogue and of the broadest possible support for education in the process – a request that will further be emphasized by the upcoming Mobilising for Quality Education campaign.
EI welcomes the Panel’s recommendation that there should be a single and universal post-2015 development framework, applicable to all countries.
EI positively notes the report’s overall emphasis on inclusion and recognition for more and deeper participation by marginalized groups. EI also welcomes the inclusion of a standalone education goal in the report and the broadening of the original goal (primary) to now include targets ranging from early childhood to lower secondary education, as well as technical and vocational education.
While EI values many positive developments like the shift from enrolment to completion, it remains concerned about the narrow focus on learning outcomes, mainly limited to reading, writing and counting.
Improvements in learning should be pursued through comprehensive means that are locally relevant and aimed at improving instruction and deepen understanding across a broad range of subject areas and skills.
Students need more than just motivated “mentors”, they need well-trained, well-paid, highly qualified and reflective practitioners that can tailor instruction in the classroom. In fact, all the regional and global consultations on education feeding into this report stressed the centrality of teachers but the report barely pays attention to the people who deal with education on a daily basis.
Lastly, and most importantly, EI laments that while the report is clear that equity must be a core principle of education, it is deafeningly silent on the issue of school fees. Much of the success of the prior years in terms of expanding access was directly due to efforts aimed at abolishing school fees. This must continue.
If we are to meaningfully expand access to quality education for all education must be free at the point of delivery. Moreover, if the following paragraph from the report is to have any meaning, the post 2015 framework must be explicit in saying that quality public education must be free and accessible to all.
While the targets are about access to school and learning, education’s aims are wider. As set out in the Convention on the Rights of the Child, education enables children to realize their talents and full potential, learn respect for human rights and prepares them for their role as adults. Education should also encourage creative thinking, teamwork and problem solving. It is also where people can learn to appreciate natural resources, become aware of the importance of sustainable consumption and production and climate change, and gain an understanding of sexual and reproductive health. Education supplies young people with skills for life, work and earning a livelihood.