Building peace in the minds of men and women

UNESCO-UNICEF promote the new education agenda

UNESCO and UNICEF kick-started the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) Replenishment Conference in Brussels today in a high-level meeting on the new proposed education post-2015 agenda.

The meeting mobilized representatives of developing countries, donor governments, international organizations, the private sector and civil society around the new education agenda. The agenda – the Muscat Agreement - adopted by Ministers at the Global Education for All Meeting in Oman last month, puts forward an aspirational goal for education post-2015 and a set of targets that will drive measurable improvements in equity, quality and learning.

The Muscat Agreement addresses the challenges of getting all children in school and learning, as well as providing education and training opportunities for youth and adults throughout life. The agreement reflects the consensus that the education agenda should take a lifelong learning approach and must focus on equity, quality and learning. It covers early childhood care and education; basic education; adult and youth literacy, skills for work and life; and skills, values and attitudes for peace, global citizenship and sustainable development.  The agreement recognizes that professionally trained, qualified and well-supported teachers are required for achieving these targets.

“This is a powerful vision of education as a human right, as a force for gender equality, as a driver for poverty eradication and sustainable development.” stated UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova, at the opening of the meeting.

Meeting participants affirmed their commitment to this holistic vision of education, recognizing the pivotal role that education can play in reaching future development goals.

Julia Gillard, former Prime Minister of Australia and now chairwoman of GPE, called for renewed commitment to the promises made in 2000 to achieve universal primary education. “Universal means universal. No one should be excluded from education because they cannot pay. Governments have to step up to ensure that no child is excluded.”

Senegal’s Education Minister, Sérigne Mbaye Thiam, said education was an indispensable investment for a more humane, united, prosperous and inclusive society. The Minister cited the positive impacts of Senegal’s partnership with GPE, including improvements to literacy levels, gender parity and increased numbers of children finishing school.

The United Nations, with governments, civil society and other partners, is building an ambitious post-2015 sustainable development agenda, to be adopted in September 2015. UNESCO and UNICEF are working with Education for All partners to ensure "equitable and inclusive quality education and lifelong learning for all by 2030" is an explicit, stand-alone goal in this new development framework, and a cross-cutting theme across the broader development agenda. Today’s meeting helped build political and financial will behind the goal and targets.