Education International
Education International

New education agenda adopted by acclamation

published 4 November 2015 updated 13 November 2015

The future of education has a new roadmap to the future as ministers from around the world adopted the Framework for Action in Paris, with hopes placed on its bold take on financing and inclusion.

The road to 2030 is taking shape in Paris, as the General Conference of UNESCO unfolds from November 3 through to November 18. World leaders have unanimously adopted the new Framework for Action (FFA) on Education, “a cornerstone within the sustainable development agenda”, in the words of UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova.

The new text, which is the result of a long-haul process that started in Jom Tien in 2000, has been praised as being a thorough and ambitious take on the much-needed reforms to make education for all a reality. Quian Tang, UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for Education, has highlighted that the vision behind the FFA was one of leaving no one behind, with a special focus on the notion of education as a public good, as a human right, and putting gender equality at the very front of its demands.

Tang emphasised the important role of governments in the implementation of the new Framework, and stressed that it its success will also depend on solid legal frameworks that guarantee accountability and transparency. Member states, the cornerstones to make the new agenda a reality, are going to be supported by institutions like the World Bank (WB) and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) for assistance and advice.

From partnership to a strong voice

Many of the speakers, from ministers to UNESCO officials and representatives from other organisations praised the drafting of the FFA as a successful collective effort that had engaged both governmental and non-governmental actors. Bokova mentioned Education International (EI) as one of the partners relevant to the success of the FFA, as in her view it would not have been enough “to have just a vision, but also the support to implement it”.

Fred van Leeuwen, General Secretary of EI, warned that “If national governments are serious about achieving Goal 4 and its 10 targets, they need to start listening to teachers. In too many countries a meaningful dialogue with the education authorities… does not exist.” He welcomed plans that were “developed in dialogue with the teaching profession, who play a crucial role in the delivery of quality education”.

Camila Crosso, president of the Global Campaign for Education, denounced the “criminalisation that many civil society organisations and trade unions” were subject to in some States present in the room, and welcomed the initiative of UNESCO to recognise the importance of civil society in the process that has led to the adoption of the FFA.