According to the latest Education for All (EFA) Global Monitoring Report from UNESCO, there are 57.8 million children who are out of primary school globally, and India with its 1.4 million children out of school, is among the global top 5 worst performers.
To put it simply, worldwide, 1 in 10 children are not in school. With the deadline for the Education for All goals less than two years away, it is clear that, despite advances over the past decade, not a single goal will be achieved globally by 2015. This year’s EFA Global Monitoring Report vividly underlines the fact that people in the most marginalized groups have continued to be denied opportunities for education over the decade.
UNESCO’s report is scathing, to say the least.
Fifty-seven million children are still failing to learn, simply because they are not in school. Access is not the only crisis – poor quality is holding back learning even for those who make it to school. One third of primary school age children are not learning the basics, whether they have been to school or not. To reach our goals, this Report calls on Governments to redouble efforts to provide learning to all who face disadvantages – whether from poverty, gender, where they live or other factors.
An education system is only as good as its teachers. Unlocking their potential is essential to enhancing the quality of learning. Evidence shows that education quality improves when teachers are supported – it deteriorates if they are not, contributing to the shocking levels of youth illiteracy captured in this report. And these are exactly the core issues Bal Utsav is passionate in addressing – in educating children and training capable teachers, unlocking each one’s potential in the process.
It is not too late, however, to accelerate progress in the final stages. And it is vital to put in place a robust global post-2015 education framework to tackle unfinished business while addressing new challenges. Post-2015 education goals will only be achieved if they are accompanied by clear, measurable targets with indicators tracking that no one is left behind, and if specific education financing targets for governments and aid donors are set.
But the real challenge, above all, is to rise to take responsibility of empowering our future generations with education.