Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Education for All


This weeks session of our seminar on UNESCO at George Washington University focused on the Education for All program, and UNESCO's role in its monitoring and coordination.

While the Universal Declaration of Human Rights identified basic education as such a right, when the first EFA meeting was held in Jomtien, Thailand in 1990 few development professionals regarded the concept as more than a pipe dream, something beyond the realm of possibility. Today, 19 years later, even though the 2008 EFA status report said that the goals will not be reached by 2015, most development professionals not only feel that universal primary education is possible, but that it is within reach.

Unfortunately:
  • the donor community has narrowed the scope of the efforts to focus on primary schooling rather than the more expansive concerns of lifelong learning promoted in the 1990's
  • the quality of schools is dismal in far too many countries
  • the financial crisis that is before us for the next few years makes it unlikely that the financial commitments of national governments or of donors will be met.
Still, the progress made in expanding basic education to reach hundreds of millions more kids is a great triumph for the world.

2 comments:

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