UNESCO released the 11th Education for All Global Monitoring Report 2013 – 14 on 28 January 2014. The theme of the report was Teaching and Learning: Achieving quality for all.
The report warns that despite advances made in education, not a single goal laid down in Dakar, Senegal in 2000 will be achieved globally by 2015.
The EFA Global Monitoring Report 2013-14 vividly underlines the fact that people in the most marginalized groups have continued to be denied opportunities for education over the decade. The Report has advocated to put in place a robust global post-2015 education framework to tackle unfinished business while addressing new challenges.
It further said that post-2015 education goals will only be achieved if they are accompanied by clear, measurable targets with indicators tracking that no one is left behind, and if specific education financing targets for governments and aid donors are set.
The Main Highlights of the Report
Goal 1: Pre-primary Education: Despite improvements, far too many children lack early childhood care and education. In 2012, 25% of children under-5 suffered from stunting. In 2011, around half of young children had access to pre-primary education, and in sub-Saharan Africa the share was only 18%.
Goal 2: Universal Primary Education: Universal primary education is likely to be missed by a wide margin. The number of children out of school was 57 million in 2011, half of whom lived in conflict-affected countries. In sub-Saharan Africa, only 23% of poor girls in rural areas were completing primary education by the end of the decade. If recent trends in the region continue, the richest boys will achieve universal primary completion in 2021, but the poorest girls will not catch up until 2086.
Goal 3: Lower Secondary Education: Many adolescents lack foundation skills gained through lower secondary education. In 2011, 69 million adolescents were out of school, with little improvement in this number since 2004. In low income countries, only 37% of adolescents completed lower secondary education, and the rate is as low as 14% for the poorest. On recent trends, girls from the poorest families in sub-Saharan Africa are only expected to achieve lower secondary completion in 2111.
Goal 4: Adult Literacy: Adult literacy has hardly improved. In 2011, there were 774 million illiterate adults, a decline of just 1% since 2000. The number is projected to fall only slightly, to 743 million, by 2015. Almost two-thirds of illiterate adults are women. The poorest young women in developing countries may not achieve universal literacy until 2072.
Goal 5: Primary Education Gender Disparity: Gender disparities remain in many countries. Even though gender parity was supposed to be achieved by 2005, in 2011 only 60% of countries had achieved this goal at the primary level and 38% at the secondary level.
Goal 6: Lower Secondary Education Gender Parity: Poor quality of education means millions of children are not learning the basics. Around 250 million children are not learning basic skills, even though half of them have spent at least four years in school. The annual cost of this failure is around 129 billion dollars. The key to improve gender parity in lower secondary education is investing in teachers. In around a third of countries, less than 75% of primary school teachers are trained according to national standards. And in a third of countries, the challenge of training existing teachers is worse than that of recruiting and training new teachers.
Global Monitoring Report and India
According to the Report, in India there are two issues i.e. access and quality. While the Right to Education (Act) has almost taken care of the access part, the government next target is to now focus on improving quality.
The main highlights of the Report in context of India are:
• In India, education accounts for 10.5% of the total government expenditure which is 3.3% of the GNP (gross national product).
• The expenditure on education was below the target of 6%. In fact the spending on education has declined over the period 1999 – 2011. The decline was witnessed in both terms, that is, as a percentage of budgeted expenditure an as a percentage of GNP. In 1999, the spending on education was 13% of the total budgeted expenditure and 4.4% of the GNP.
• India has the highest population of illiterate adults, 287 million which is 37% of the total population of such people across the world.
• In India, even after completing four years of school, 90% of children from poorer household remain illiterate.
• The UN body has advised countries including India to improve their tax regimes so as to provide more funds to the education sector.
• In India, rich young women have already achieved universal literacy but the poorest will only do so around 2080.
• Allocation for education in India varies widely across states. The expenditure of Kerala on education on per pupil was about 685 dollar per year while in Himachal Pradesh it was 542 dollar. In contrast, in West Bengal it was 127 dollar and in Bihar 100 dollar.
This 11th EFA Global Monitoring Report provides a timely update on progress that countries are making towards the global education goals that were agreed in 2000. It also makes a powerful case for placing education at the heart of the global development agenda after 2015. In 2008, the EFA Global Monitoring Report asked – ‘will we make it?’ With less than two years left before 2015, this Report makes it clear that we will not.
In this light Report calls on Governments to redouble efforts to provide learning to all who face disadvantages – whether from poverty, gender, where they live or other factors. Besides, governments must step up efforts to recruit an additional 1.6 million teachers to achieve universal primary education by 2015. Consequently the Report has identified four strategies to provide the best teachers to reach all children with a good quality education.
First, the right teachers must be selected to reflect the diversity of the children they will be teaching.
Second, teachers must be trained to support the weakest learners, starting from the early grades.
Third, overcome inequalities in learning by allocating the best teachers to the most challenging parts of a country.
Fourth, governments must provide teachers with the right mix of incentives to encourage them to remain in the profession and to make sure all children are learning, regardless of their circumstances.
But teachers cannot shoulder the responsibility alone. The Report shows also that teachers can only shine in the right context, with well-designed curricula and assessment strategies to improve teaching and learning.
These policy changes have a cost. This is why we need to see a dramatic shift in funding. Basic education is currently underfunded by 26 billion dollars a year, while aid is continuing to decline. At this stage, governments simply cannot afford to reduce investment in education – nor should donors step back from their funding promises. This calls for exploring new ways to fund urgent needs.
The Education for All Global Monitoring Report was established in 2000 at Dakar in Senegal. The main objective of the Report is to inform, influence and sustain commitment to achieving the Education for All goals by 2015.
At the UNESCO Summit in April 2000, 1100 participants from 164 countries adopted the Dakar Framework for Action, Education for All: Meeting Our Collective Commitments. These participants agreed upon six wide-ranging education goals to be met by 2015.