WO R L D V I E W
Governments will need to step up with more money and better policies if a plan to “transform our world” within 13 years is to be achieved. BY C Y N D I T E B B E L
New global goals their political will with appropriate funding, says Hopgood. “But it’s also about policy and legislative changes that ensure we’re going to reach the teacher targets. We need trained teachers to provide quality teaching.” The biggest threat to quality education for all is the creeping privatisation or corporatisation of education, says Hopgood. “Large corporations are moving into poor countries and taking advantage. That’s a real danger.”
While primary school enrolment in developing countries is about 91 per cent, only 70 per cent of those children will go on to complete primary school.
Targets can work
ducation is at the heart of an ambitious United Nations strategy, aimed at ending poverty, fighting inequality and tackling climate change by 2030. “While education is not the solution to the challenges we face, there is no solution without education,” says AEU federal president Susan Hopgood who is also president of Education International, the world’s largest federation of unions representing more than 32 million educators.
The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) include 17 targets covering social, economic and environmental issues. While one of the 17 covers education exclusively — “To ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all” — education is also included in goals on health, growth and employment, sustainable consumption and production, and climate change. For the goals to be achieved, governments will need to demonstrate
A previous set of UN goals proved that targets can bring vast improvements. While “a full primary education for every child in the world by 2015” was not achieved, primary school enrolment for children in developing countries is now at 91 per cent, according to the UN’s most recent data. However, on current trends, only 70 per cent of those children will complete primary school in 2030. Many more still have no access to formal education, including 57 million children living in sub-Saharan Africa, in conflictaffected countries, and in refugee camps around the world. And, of the 103 million young people worldwide who lack basic literacy skills, more than 60 per cent are women. Closing these gaps – and advancing the directive beyond primary education – will require enormous political resolve from the leaders of 193 poor, rich and middle-income countries who adopted the non-legally binding SDGs. “Every country has things to do, whether it’s in relation to early childhood education, primary and secondary education, vocational and higher education or quality and access,” says Hopgood.
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