Government leaders came together this week at the G8 summit in Northern Ireland to make progress on issues such as trade agreements, tax systems, and transparency. Yet, despite reiterated commitments to reducing poverty and promoting growth and jobs as top priorities, EI deplores that education´s core role in tackling these issues is not mentioned in the 24-page communiqué from the meeting.
In fact, education is not mentioned at all. EI finds the failure of the G8 states to address education alarming, particularly when their previous commitments were already weak. A policy paper, released earlier this month by the Education for All Global Monitoring Report and the UNESCO Institute for Statistics, highlights two worrying trends. Firstly, progress in reducing the number of out of school children globally has halted; worldwide there are still 57 million children out of school. Secondly, aid to basic education has been on the decline since 2010, making it impossible for many countries to deliver on their promises and achieve universal primary education by 2015. Sustainable public education financing is crucial for governments to deliver on their commitments to education for all.
While the G8 is adamant in its communiqué on addressing youth unemployment problems, they fail to recognise that beyond its contribution to individual and societal development, education also plays a key role in employment; higher levels of education have a direct impact on employment prospects. Tackling youth unemployment thus begins at school.
If the G8 wants to make headway in reducing poverty and in addressing youth employment, education must feature centrally on its agenda in achieving these goals.
On the issue of tax, states recognised the importance of tax systems in contributing to the development of fair societies and established common rules and standards to tackle tax avoidance and to ensure the automatic exchange of information between tax authorities. As a signatory of the Global Alliance for Tax Justice campaign pledge shared with leaders at the G8, EI welcomes these developments.
You can read EI´s letter (page. 72-73) to the G8 in the Summit publication here
The 24-page communiqué from the G8 meeting is available here