If current conditions do not change, things look bleak for achieving Education for All by 2015 per a report issued by UNESCO yesterday.
Governments' failures to address rampant inequalities is cited as the main culprit. These inequalities stem from many sources such as weak domestic policies, the stagnation of financial assistance from donors, and a culture of political indifference. Continuing to neglect these culprits will undoubtedly lead to missing UNESCO's goals for 2015 that were set in Darfur in 2000. Yet much more critically, these inequalities will continue to perpetuate what UNESCO reports as a "vast gulf" between rich and poor and will sorely misserve much of the world's population. Avoiding these issues will certainly have lasting global consequences.
The report is quick to note, however, the substantial progress that has been made in implementing practical policies especially in early childhood development and in implementing good quality education in some of the poorest countries. Parts of Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa, as well as South and West Asia were particularly cited as having made great gains in increasing net enrollment rates and in implementing programs to promote educational equality. Yet more governmental attention needs to be directed toward educational initiatives to enact consistent, effective change.
This attention, though, could be difficult to attract given the current financial situation. Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura noted this in indicating that failure of educational initiatives often receive much less attention in comparison to other crises. “When financial systems fail, the consequences are highly visible and governments act,” he stated. “When education systems fail the consequences are less visible, but no less real... That is why governments must act with a greater sense of urgency.” Voicing concerns to all levels of government over promoting quality education for all, then, must certainly be a growing priority.