Education for All Global Monitoring Report
EFA Global Monitoring Report 2012
This 10th edition of the EFA Global Monitoring Report could not be better timed. The third goal of Education for All is to ensure that all young people have the opportunity to acquire skills. The urgency of reaching this goal has sharpened acutely since 2000. The global economic downturn is impacting on unemployment. One young person in eight across the world is looking for work. Youth populations are large and growing. The wellbeing and prosperity of young people depend more than ever on the skills that education and training can provide. Failing to meet this need is a waste of human potential and economic power. Youth skills have never been so vital.
This Global Monitoring Report reminds us that education is not only about making sure all children can attend school. It is about setting young people up for life, by giving them opportunities to find decent work, earn a living, contribute to their communities and societies, and fulfil their potential. At the wider level, it is about helping countries nurture the workforce they need to grow in the global economy.
There has been undeniable progress towards the six EFA goals — including an expansion of early childhood care and education and improvements in gender parity at primary level. However, with three years to go until the 2015 deadline, the world is still not on track. Progress towards some goals is faltering. The number of children out of school has stagnated for the first time since 2000. Adult literacy and quality of education still demand faster progress.
Recent developments ascribe ever greater urgency to ensuring equitable access to appropriate skills development programmes. As urban populations grow rapidly, especially in low income countries, young people need skills to work their way out of poverty. In rural areas, young people require new coping mechanisms to deal with climate change and shrinking farm sizes, and to exploit opportunities for off-farm work. This Report reveals that around 200 million young people need a second chance to acquire the basic literacy and numeracy skills, which are essential to learning further skills for work. In all of this, women and the poor face particular hardship.
We must see the growing numbers of young people who are unemployed or trapped in poverty as a call to action — to meet their needs by 2015 and to keep momentum after then. We can achieve universal lower secondary education by 2030, and we must. Donors’ commitment to education may be waning, and this is deeply worrying. Government budgets are under pressure today, but we must not risk the gains made since 2000 by reducing engagement now. Evidence in this Report shows that funds spent on education generate ten to fifteen times as much in economic growth over a person’s lifetime. Now is the time to invest for the future.
We must think creatively and use all the resources at our disposal. Governments and donors must continue to prioritize education. Countries should look to their own resources, which could be giving millions of children and young people skills for life. Whatever the source of funding, the needs of the disadvantaged must be a high priority in every strategy.
Young people everywhere have great potential — this must be developed. I hope this Report will catalyse renewed efforts worldwide to educate children and young people so they can greet the world with confidence, follow their ambitions and live the lives they choose.
With just three years to go until the deadline for the Education for All goals that were set in Dakar, Senegal, it is vitally urgent to ensure that the collective commitments made by 164 countries in 2000 are met. Lessons also need to be drawn to inform the definition of future international education goals and the design of mechanisms to make sure that all partners live up to their promises.
Unfortunately, this year’s EFA Global Monitoring Report shows that progress towards many of the goals is slowing down, and that most EFA goals are unlikely to be met. Despite the gloomy outlook overall, progress in some of the world’s poorest countries shows what can be achieved with the commitment of national governments and aid donors, including greater numbers of children attending pre-school, completing primary school and making the transition to secondary education.
The 2012 EFA Global Monitoring Report is divided into two parts. Part I provides a snapshot of progress towards the six EFA goals, and towards spending on education to finance the goals. Part II turns to the third EFA goal, paying particular attention to the skills needs of young people.