UNESCO Institute for Statistics contributes to seminar on how the EU could strengthen its response to the Global Learning Crisis.
Stepping up efforts to resolve the Global Learning Crisis – the role of the EU and its Member States
Sustainable Development Goal 4 seeks to ensure equitable access to quality education for all and is considered as an inevitable step in reaching the rest of the sixteen SDGs. But as we are entering the last decade of the 2030 Agenda, recent reports from the Global Education Monitoring Report and the UNESCO Institute for Statistics show that the world is off track in reaching its education goals. Now, in an effort to bring education to the forefront of the European Union’s development policy, the Finnish Presidency of the Council of the European Union and the Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development hosted, together with the Global Partnership for Education, a seminar about the role of the EU and its Member States in education: Stepping up efforts to resolve the Global Learning Crisis. Silvia Montoya, Director of the UNESCO Institute for Statistics, gave UNESCO’s perspective on the question what the EU could do to strengthen its response to the crisis.
A world off track in reaching SDG 4
Even though more and more children are starting school, one in six aged 6-17 will still be excluded by 2030. And of those who are enrolled, many are not learning or will drop out early. By 2030, when all children should be in school, four in ten young people will still not complete secondary education. The European Commission highlighted that by the end of the Agenda for Sustainable Development, about 800 million young people, half of them girls, will not possess basic skills. This is a critical global issue, as many adolescents and young people will not move into the job market with the right skills needed for relevant employment that responds to the challenges faced by their countries. Exacerbated by complex global threats like climate change, the situation is most acute in low-income countries and holds back economic growth and political stability, which would help bring people out of poverty and foster economic growth and social wellbeing.
Silvia Montoya, Director of the UNESCO Institute for Statistics, contributed to the discussion about the choices to be made in order to strengthen the focus and the effectiveness of the European Union and its Member States to resolve the Global Learning Crisis, particularly focusing on primary and secondary education. She highlighted the urgency to support and invest in teachers to approach the crisis. This is a particularly pressing matter, as data shows that notably in Africa, such support is actually decreasing.
During the discussion, Ms. Montoya and representatives from the European Parliament and other relevant international agencies working on education in the development context, further addressed questions of how the EU and its Member States can strengthen their focus on learning through bilateral support, global support or a combination of both, and how the EU and its Member States can best support partner country-led education systems to be strong, equitable and more efficient. Moreover, the speakers discussed how the EU and Member States could strengthen their contribution to the policy dialogue around improved learning outcomes and how they could improve aid effectiveness by strengthening cooperation and coordination of support at country and global level.
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