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What is our vision of education?

 
2 Credit Oxfam Zambia
Around the turn of the millennium, two processes established a set of (more or less) ambitious goals for education globally. Building on the earlier Jomtien World Declaration on Education, the Dakar Framework for Education For All set out six goals, agreed by hundreds of governments and civil society organisations, representing a consensus on what it would mean to secure education for all by 2015, and the Millennium Development Goals included two of these – universal primary education and gender parity in education – as part of its global framework for development.
 
In the run-up to 2015, we have two urgent priorities.
 
First, we must build and maintain pressure to achieve existing goals – a target that is close or achieved for some goals in some countries, and woefully off-track for others.
 
And, crucially, we must plan and campaign to ensure that any future global frameworks and goals, whether for education or more broadly, emphasise and advance the universal right to education.

If you would like to get more involved with GCE's work on education post-2015, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
 

The Right to Education in the Post-2015 Development Agenda

 
Following significant consultation amongst members, GCE has published its own statement on education in the post-2015 development agenda.
 
 
RTE STATEMENT THUMBGCE believes that there must be a specific goal on education in a global post-2015 development framework, and continuation of the Education For All agenda after 2015, and that both must be grounded in a human rights perspective. What needs to be done has been well established in treaties, conventions, and previous declarations and frameworks; what is missing is a global political commitment to all that is implied by the right to education – that is, a comprehensive commitment to educational access, inclusion, quality and equity and the willingness to create the conditions for success.
 
 
Download the statement in English
 
 
In addition, GCE is one of twenty two civil society organisations calling for the human right to education to be recognised and placed at the heart of the post-2015 development framework by member states of the United Nations. Following several rounds of reporting from a variety of the groups informing the development of the post-2015 goals, there is real concern that the human right to education will not form the heart of the development goal on education.

The twenty two organisations involved in this joint call are:

  • Global Campaign for Education (GCE)
  • International Council for Adult Education (ICAE)
  • Education International (EI)
  • Latin American Campaign for the Right to Education (CLADE)
  • Asia South Pacific Association for Basic and Adult Education (ASPBAE)
  • Arab Campaign for Education for All (ACEA)
  • Africa Network Campaign for Education for All (ANCEFA)
  • Latin American and Caribbean Council for Popular Education (CEAAL)
  • Women's Popular Education Network in Latin America and the Caribbean (REPEM)
  • Ayuda en Accion
  • European Association for the Education of Adults (EAEA)
  • Global March Against Child Labor
  • ActionAid International
  • Oxfam International
  • DVV International
  • Plan International
  • Save the Children International
  • VSO
  • Results
  • IBIS
  • The Right to Education Project
  • Open Society Foundations.

The call covers fundamental principles that express an understanding of education as a fundamental human right:

  • Every human being is entitled to the right to education.
  • States are duty bearers and must respect, protect and fulfil human rights, including the right to education.
  • The right to education begins at birth and is lifelong.
  • Adult Education and Literacy in a Lifelong learning framework are an integral part of the right to education.
  • A broad approach to quality education is needed.
  • Equality and non discrimination are core elements of the right to education.
  • Teachers are at the centre of quality education.
  • The State must provide sufficient financing for public education.
  • There must be democratic governance in education.
  • Human rights are integral, indivisible and interdependent.

RTE JOINT STATEMENT THUMB
Download the statement in English
 
To announce this call, an event was held during UN General Assembly week in New York, NY.
 
The event saw keynote speeches from the Minister for Education of Timor-Leste, His Excellency Bendito dos Santos Freitas and the UN Special Rapporteur for the Right to Education, Kishore Singh, alongside representatives of the Government of France, UNESCO, UNICEF, UN Women and GCE, ICAE and Education International. 

 

 
 
 

Official post-2015 planning processes

 
The United Nations is coordinating various official mechanisms for planning on a successor to the MDG framework after 2015:
 
  • a Special Adviser to the UN Secretary General on Post-2015 Planning, Amina Mohammed, a former Nigerian government official and a founder of Civil Society Action Coalition on Education For All, GCE's member coalition in Nigeria
  • a High Level Panel of Eminent Persons to advise the UN Secretary General, co-chaired by Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and UK Prime Minister David Cameron
  • a UN System Task Team made up of specialists from UN agencies
  • consultations, supported by UNDP, in 50 countries and on nine themes, including education
  • the launch of a UN website in August 2012.
Two good sources of information on the broader post-MDG processes for civil society are Beyond 2015 and the Post-2015 blog of the Overseas Development Institute (ODI).

Two other developments which are not formally linked to the post-2015 process, but which are relevant, are the appointment of former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown as UN Special Envoy on Global Education, and the UN Secretary General's Special Initiative on Education, Education First. GCE's president Camilla Croso is one of the civil society representatives on the steering committee for this initiative.

UNESCO is also leading debates around the post-2015 framework on Education For All, and a civil society consultation (through UNESCO's Coordinating Committee for NGOs, CCNGO) was held in October 2012, and the Global EFA Meeting, which monitors progress towards the 2015 goals, was held in November 2012. A World EFA Conference is scheduled for April 2015.
 
You can download the outcome paper for the 2012 CCNGO Meeting here.
 
You can download the outcome paper for the 2012 Global EFA Meeting here.
 

Education activists joining the conversation

 
GCE is has consulted with its membership in order to develop a strong statement of what we believe should come next in terms of international frameworks and agreements on education. This statement can be downloaded here.
 
Members' views were sought on what aspects of education are most in need of attention, what actions do governments most need to take, and what civil society wants to hold national governments to account for, both nationally and internationally. 
 
Following the great response we received, GCE produced a discussion paper in advance of the final statement which revealed a strong consensus around the need for broad, integrated goals that focus on quality, equity and access, treating them as inextricable. This is also a natural result of rooting goals in the right to education, another concern for GCE members.
 
You can download the GCE Discussion Paper on Education Post-2015 here:

GCE post2015 doc

Download in English

Download in French

Download in Spanish

Download in Arabic

Download in Portuguese

 

This feedback from GCE was fed into discussions at the recent high level meeting in Dakar, March 2013.  

The interim findings of the GCE consultation are now available and can be downloaded in English here.
 
Highlights from the GCE consultation interim findings include:
  • Financing for education and transparent and participatory decision-making should be major priorities for government attention, action and accountability, and civil society monitoring. Governments must put in place structures and funding to reach education goals, and ensure that civil society is able to inform and monitor progress.
  • Equity is crucial and needs greater emphasis; we should retain a focus on access, and strengthen this through an explicit link to equity and marginalization – taking into account who is missing out on education, not just how many. More broadly, there should be equity targets across education goals and attention on inclusive education.
  • Quality, learning and teachers: the education MDGs are seen to have narrowed the EFA agenda, and taken quality out of the struggle for universal access: quality should be central, and closely linked to access. Indicators of quality and learning could include well-qualified teachers, relevant and inclusive curricula, a broader understanding of the nature of education, and indicators of learning.
  • Teachers are neglected despite their huge importance to quality education. There should be a greater focus on trained and qualified teachers, and the pupil-to-trained teacher ratio, whether as an indicator of quality or a separate goal.
  • Free and public education: governments must retain responsibility for education; expansion of private education adds to inequity; and governments must meet commitments on abolishing fees. 
  • A rights basis should underlie all discussions of education and future frameworks. These are rights in, to and through education, which are indivisible and without hierarchy.  
  • Approaches to future goals: there is support for the overall EFA framework, and calls to deepen it through more and better indicators (eg on equity in access, on quality) and perhaps additional goals (eg on teachers).
  • Most responses so far in relation to any future MDG-type goal call for a much broader agenda to be included, beyond UPE. 
 
Download the GCE Members post-2015 survey in English.
 

Global consultation

 
The global thematic discussion was hosted by www.worldwewant2015.org; it is was run in four parts and closed at the end of February 2013:
 
 
E-Discussion 1 - Equitable access to education  10 - 24 December  2012
E-Discussion 2 - Quality of learning  5-19 January 2013
E-Discussion 3 - Global citizenship, skills and jobs 23 January – 6 February 2013
E-Discussion 4 - Governance and Financing for Education 10 – 24 February 2013
 
Information on the outcomes of the UN global post-2015 consultations is available at the World We Want platform. This official consultation on education was coordinated by UNESCO and UNICEF, and GCE and Education International are on the advisory group. GCE co-convened E-Discussion 3 and contibuted to the final report for this theme.

The deadline for the expected output – a global synthesis report – is June 2013, but early findings (summarised in a snap shot report) were presented at the High Level Panel meeting in Bali in March 2013.

 

Country consultations

 
post2015countries1
 

Thematic consultations

 
Consultations have been taking place with academia, media, private sector, employers and trade unions, civil society and decision makers, since May 2012. Themes of global meetings include:
  • Inequalities (across all dimensions, including gender)
  • Health (including issues covered by MDGs 4, 5, 6, plus non communicable diseases)
  • Education (primary, secondary, tertiary and vocational)
  • Growth and employment (including investment in productive capacities, decent employment, and social protection)
  • Environmental sustainability (including access to energy, biodiversity, climate change)
  • Food security and nutrition
  • Governance (at all levels)
  • Conflict and fragility (including post-conflict countries, and those prone to natural disasters)Population dynamics (including ageing, international and internal migration, and urbanisation)