The Global Monitoring Report is the single most important annual publication on Education for All and a key resource for teachers’ unions. At the midway point toward the 2015 target date for achieving Education for All (EFA) the report summarises the progress made to date and the many challenges that lie ahead. On November 29 the latest edition was published by UNESCO
The publication of the Global Monitoring Report 2008 brings with it some positive news on the international progress being made to achieve Education for All. “The number of children starting primary school has increased sharply since 2000, there are more girls in school than ever before and spending on education and aid has risen”. However, a lot remains to be done.
Although access to primary school is on the up, retaining the children in schools is still a major problem. The number of children dropping out of school is on the increase due to the poor quality of education and excessive cost. Fees for primary education have been dropped in many countries but still “a majority of children in public primary schools face some type of charge, sometimes representing up to one-third of household income”.
Likewise the shortage of qualified teachers remains a major issue in the world, with a further 18 million needed to be trained and recruited between now and 2015 if governments are serious about EFA. As part of a quick-fix response, governments in Sub Saharan Africa have chosen to fill the gap with contract teachers, who in many countries now account for over 50% of the entire teaching staff. EI supports the call by the Global Monitoring Report for governments to address this situation by making it a policy to upgrade and professionalise untrained contract teachers.
Other serious challenges identified by the report include adult literacy, access for vulnerable and excluded groups, increasing aid and eliminating gender disparities. Girls still make up 60% of the out-of-school children in the Arab States and 66% in South and West Asia. According to current trends, it is expected that the goal will be missed in over 90 of 172 countries.
The majority of countries which already have or are set to achieve the EFA goals are mostly in North America and Europe but also include Argentina, Brunei Darussalam, Bahrain, Mexico and the Republic of Korea. At the top of the Education for All Development Index (EDI) is Norway, then the UK, Slovenia, Sweden, the Republic of Korea and Italy.
EI is preparing a paper in response to the Global Monitoring Report which will be published early next year. For more details, contact us at [email protected]