At the European launch of UNESCO’s Global Education Monitoring (GEM) report, European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, praised the report and highlighted how much could be achieved if we double our efforts to improve education. ‘Education is the driving force behind so many of our development goals, whether in the field of health, gender equality, poverty reduction or climate change’ he told participants at the European Press Club in Brussels where the launch took place.
The report shows the potential for education to propel progress towards all global goals outlined in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (SDGs). It also shows that education needs a major transformation to fulfill that potential and meet the current challenges facing humanity and the planet.
Commissioner Mimica spoke of the ‘need to do far more to ensure quality education and lifelong learning for all. 250 million children worldwide are still out of education and disproportionate numbers of these are poor, female, disabled or living in conflict zones’. On current trends, the world is set to achieve SDG 4 by 2084, half a century late for the 2030 SDG deadline. Aaron Benavot, Director of the GEM Report, ‘According to our estimates, the world needs an average of 54 more years after 2030 to achieve goal 4 of the SDGs. In Sub-Saharan Africa, the goal would be achieved around 2100.’
Aaron Benavot, GEM Report Director, speaking at the European launch of the Global Education Monitoring (GEM) report in Brussels.
Romanian MEP, Mircea Diaconu, addressed the audience in a video message, highlighting the role education plays in tackling key challenges, around the world but also in Europe: ‘As someone who spent 40 years under a communist regime, where education was replaced with propaganda, I strongly believe that education is our only passport to the future. I include the future of the EU here as well. Education is key in tackling the recent rise of ultra-nationalism, extremism, the gradual loss or deterioration of our cultural and natural heritage and the increasing risk of poverty and social exclusion, to name just a few of the EU’s challenges today.’
One issue affecting education has been a shortage of teachers. Dennis Sinyolo from Education International emphasized the need to include teachers and educators in all discussions surrounding education. He went on to urge Europe to ‘facilitate the accreditation and recognition of qualifications of migrants and refugees’ for those that are qualified to teach, but cannot because they are not recognised in receiving countries.
As Nobel peace prize laureate, Malala Yousafzai said, ‘One child, one book, one pen can save the world.’ Although challenges remain, achieving our global commitment to education could lift 60 million of the world’s most vulnerable out of poverty and increase income by 75% by the middle of the century.
The Global Education Monitoring (GEM) report is available in all six official UN languages, and the summary in 14 other languages.
An illustrated youth report is also available, here.
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