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Bridging the educational gap

Jan 25, 2010

United Nation’s new report Reaching the marginalized argues that the global financial crisis could create a lost generation of children, by failing to protect their right to education. It suggests some concrete solutions for making sure that no children are excluded from schooling.

2010 Education for All Global Monitoring Report, Reaching the marginalized

Publisher: United Nations, 2010

The Global Monitoring Report, developed annually by an independent team and published by UNESCO, assesses global progress towards the six Education for All goals to which over 160 countries committed themselves in 2000.

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This document charts some spectacular advances in education over the past decade, a striking contrast with the “lost decade” of the 1990s. The report notes 72 million primary school age children and another 71 million adolescents are not at school and on current trends, 56 million primary school age children will still be out of school in 2015.

Gender disparities remain deeply engrained, with 28 countries across the developing world having nine or fewer girls in school for every ten boys. There has been little progress towards the goal of halving adult illiteracy – a condition that affects 759 million people, two-thirds of them women.

With a major international summit planned on the UN’s development targets-the Millennium Development Goals-in 2010, the report points out that lost opportunities for education will act as a brake on economic growth, poverty reduction, and progress in health and other areas.

It warns, however, that many countries are likely to fall far short of the targets adopted in 2000, because of the failure of governments to address inequalities and of donors to deliver on pledges.

It urges rich countries and the Group of 20 to scale up the concessional aid required to avoid damaging budget adjustments in the poorest countries.

The report estimates that donors will have to bridge a financing gap of US$16 billion a year to meet the goal of universal primary education by 2015. These numbers reflect governments’ ongoing neglect of the need to address extreme inequalities; the world will only get all its children into school by putting the marginalised at the centre of education policy.

It also identifies policies that successfully counteract persistent inequalities, including improving accessibility and affordability by cutting fees and informal charges and offering targeted incentives; strengthening the learning environment by providing highly skilled teachers and expanded intercultural bilingual teaching; expanding entitlements and opportunities by integrating education strategies into wider anti-marginalisation policies, such as social protection, reinforced legal entitlements and more fairly distributed public spending.

Source : UNESCO
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