On the eve of high-level talks in Paris aimed at adopting a framework to implement the Education 2030 Agenda, an Education International teacher delegation gathered in advance to prepare for the big meeting.
The Education International (EI) delegation, which is set to attend UNESCO events this week in Paris, debated the Framework for Action (FFA), during a preparatory workshop to learn the ins and outs of the Education 2030 Agenda.
Representing their unions from five continents, delegates celebrated the successes achieved over the last years, including a new standalone education goal among the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the UN in September. The representatives from EI affiliates acquainted themselves with the challenges and opportunity presented by the SDGs and the Education 2030 Framework for Action.
Taking stock of the outcomes of the pre-2015 Education for All (EFA) strategy, participants agreed that progress has been made since 2000, but remains insufficient largely due to inadequate financing still required to achieve the goals. They also acknowledged that for the Education 2030 agenda to be successful, it is important to know the system better, invest more and smarter, and communicate better.
The affiliates also made clear their belief that the new Goal Four, to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all, is crucial for the achievement of the entire SDG agenda.
Financing the future of education
Teopista Birungi, former member of the EI Executive Board and current member of the International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity, presented the commission’s objectives.
A major new global initiative, this commission, an ally to EI and its affiliates, “engages world leaders, policy makers and researchers to develop a renewed and compelling investment case and financing pathway for achieving equal educational opportunity for children and young people.”, Birungi explained.
The International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity is paying particular attention to the provision of basic education. Without urgent action, Birungi warned, the prospects for more than 124 million children and youth denied access to schools and more than 250 million children not learning the necessary skills are severely diminished. Also, she insisted, a financing gap for basic education upwards of $27 billion USD is projected by 2020, while there is currently no plan to bridge this gap. And the financing of education is inefficiently allocated across and within countries, not reaching most marginalised children and young people, achieving limited results on both the access and learning fronts.
Birungi made the point that the commission will seek the advice and engagement from civil society, teachers, young people, technology innovators, international agencies and other constituencies throughout the year through a series of outreach and engagement activities.
The Commission’s research aims to synthesize lessons learned around the creation of an effective and supported teaching force including: teacher recruitment, professional development and support systems; teacher salaries and value of the profession; teacher accountability; teacher deployment and management; school governance and accountability; and improvements in public sector management.
Discussions around the FFA for Education 2030 and the SDGs have just started and continue tomorrow parallel to the UNESCO 2030 high-level meeting and the UNESCO General Conference.
During the panel “Stronger Together”, representatives of the Global Partnership for Education, the Open Society Foundations and UNESCO expressed their support and willingness to work together with EI to make sure the SDGs and the goal on education become a reality.