The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in the first week of April 2015 released the 2015 EFA Global Monitoring Report titled Education for All 2000-2015: Achievements and Challenges.
The report presents the achievements and challenges with respect to six EFA goals and eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the two most important frameworks in the field of education.
It also explains possible determinants of the pace of progress and identifies key lessons for shaping a post-2015 global education agenda.
Main Highlights of the Report
Goal 1 – Early childhood care and education
Expanding and improving comprehensive early childhood care and education, especially for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged children
- Despite a drop in child mortality rates of nearly 50%, 6.3 million children under the age of 5 died in 2013 from causes that are mostly preventable.
- Progress in improving child nutrition has been considerable. Yet globally, one in four children is still short for their age – a sign of chronic deficiency in essential nutrients.
- In 2012, 184 million children were enrolled in pre-primary education worldwide, an increase of nearly two-thirds since 1999.
Goal 2 – Universal primary education
Ensuring that by 2015 all children, particularly girls, children in difficult circumstances and those belonging to ethnic minorities, have access to and complete free and compulsory primary education of good quality
- The primary school net enrolment ratio was 84% in 1999 and is estimated to reach 93% in 2015.
- Net enrolment ratios improved significantly, rising at least 20 percentage points from 1999 to 2012 in 17 countries, 11 of which were in sub-Saharan Africa.
- While some increases in enrolment ratios are evident, nearly 58 million children were out of school in 2012, and progress in reducing this number has stalled.
- By the 2015 deadline, one in six children in low and middle income countries – or almost 100 million – will not have completed primary school
Goal 3 – Youth and adult skills
Ensuring that the learning needs of all young people and adults are met through equitable access to appropriate learning and life skills programmes
- Reflecting improved transition rates and higher retention rates, the lower secondary gross enrolment ratio increased from 71% in 1999 to 85% in 2012.
- Participation in lower secondary education has increased quickly since 1999.
- Inequality persists in the transition from primary to secondary school.
- A majority of the 94 low and middle income countries with information have legislated free lower secondary education since 1999. Of these, 66 have constitutional guarantees and 28 enacted other legal measures.
Goal 4 – Adult literacy
Achieving a 50 per cent improvement in levels of adult literacy by 2015, especially for women, and equitable access to basic and continuing education for all adults
- There are about 781 million illiterate adults. The rate of illiteracy dropped slightly, from 18% in 2000 to an estimated 14% in 2015, which means the Dakar target of halving illiteracy was not achieved.
- Only 17 out of the 73 countries with a literacy rate below 95% in 2000 had halved their illiteracy rate by 2015.
- Progress has been made towards gender parity in literacy but is not sufficient. All 43 countries where fewer than 90 women for every 100 men were literate in 2000 have moved towards parity, but none of them will have reached it by 2015.
Goal 5 – Gender equality
Eliminating gender disparities in primary and secondary education by 2005, and achieving gender equality in education by 2015, with a focus on ensuring girls’ full and equal access to and achievement in basic education of good quality
- At the primary level, 69% of the countries with data are expected to have reached gender parity by 2015. Progress is slower in secondary education, with 48% projected to be at gender parity in 2015.
- Progress in tackling severe gender disparity has been made. Between 1999 and 2012, the number of countries with fewer than 90 girls enrolled in primary school for every 100 boys fell from 33 to 16
- Amongst out-of-school children, girls are more likely than boys never to enrol in school (48% compared with 37%), while boys are more likely to leave school (26% compared with 20%). Once enrolled, girls are more likely to reach the upper grades.
Goal 6 – Quality of education
Improving all aspects of the quality of education and ensuring excellence of all so that recognized and measurable learning outcomes are achieved by all, especially in literacy, numeracy and essential life skills
- Pupil/teacher ratios declined in 83% of the 146 countries with data at the primary education level. In one-third of the countries with data, however, less than 75% of primary school teachers are trained up to national standards.
- At the lower secondary education level, 87 of the 105 countries with data have a pupil/teacher ratio below 30:1.
- In 1990, 12 learning assessments were conducted according to national standards, but by 2013 the number had increased to 101.
EFA and India
- India increased its net enrolment ratio as GNP per capita improved, suggesting a more equitable distribution of economic gains
- In India, monitoring of financing allocations and funding delivery to implement the Right to Education (RTE) found that funds were not allocated on time because of banking delays, and did not always reach schools. There were significant regional disparities in funding delivery:
- Low-fee private schools have proliferated in urban slums in India, Kenya and Nigeria
- In India, the RTE and the main EFA programme, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, created opportunities for people with disabilities to be included in mainstream schools.
- Two out of three countries where lower secondary education was not compulsory in 2000 had changed their legislation by 2012, including India, Indonesia, Nigeria and Pakistan.
- In India, the Pratham Open School of Education aims to reach young girls and women who have been marginalized from the education system
- India and Turkey have closed gender gaps in primary and lower secondary education
- In India, girls’ enrolment increased after a school latrine construction effort in the early 2000s
About Dakar Goals
Dakar Goals or Education for All goals was established in 2000 at the World Education Forum in Dakar, Senegal. The UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD), launched in 2005, urges countries to rethink education, curricula and teaching practice in ways that complement the drive to achieve EFA.