25 May 2012
Deputy Secretary-General

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Deputy Secretary-General Encourages Partnership between Private, Public Sector


to Improve Quality of Education, Enable Youth to Make Transition to Workplace


Following are Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro’s opening remarks at the Panel Discussion on Public-Private Partnerships in Education:  An Evidence-Based Approach, in New York, 25 May:

I am pleased to join you for the opening of this panel discussion.  I thank the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the United Nations Office for Partnerships and the IDP Foundation for providing this important opportunity to focus our collective attention on education.

Education is a fundamental human right, not a privilege of the few.  Education accelerates the development of individuals and nations.  It is the central thread tying together all our aspirations for the Millennium Development Goals.  The Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, has made education one of the priorities for his second-term.  He will launch, this coming September, a Global Initiative on Education that will aim to put education where it should be:  at the heart of the political, social and development agenda.

Inclusive, relevant, quality education is a key condition for building more sustainable and inclusive societies.  It is unacceptable that 67 million children are out of school today.  And too many young people are leaving school without learning or acquiring the skills necessary for an easy transition to adulthood and a life of work.  The situation is especially acute in fragile and conflict-affected countries, which account for almost half of the children who are out of school.

Educational stakeholders must continue their efforts to make education work.  We must create stimulating learning environments; provide incentives for quality teaching; reach out to the vulnerable; adapt curricula to a fast-changing world; and, make the investments that are so crucial for progress.

In the past 10 years, advances in increasing enrolments and reducing gender disparities in many countries at the primary level were the outcome of strong political leadership, combined with efficient policies and sufficient financing.  Achieving quality education for all requires continued political will, higher investment and policies that reflect the perspective of lifelong learning in both formal and non-formal contexts.

The Secretary-General’s initiative, due to be unveiled during the sixty-seventh session of the General-Assembly, will seek, not only the fulfilment of existing commitments, but also to mobilize a broad spectrum of actors and to raise the political profile of education as Member States discuss the post-2015 development agenda.  Public-private partnerships can play a valuable role.  Neither States nor international organizations can face development challenges alone.  Tackling today’s complex global challenges requires innovative approaches that draw on many sectors and stakeholders. 

I would therefore like to stress the potential of partnerships, notably with the private sector, to raise funds.  And equally importantly, to find creative ways for more effective action in the field of education.  In this respect, I encourage more dialogue between the private and public sector in improving the quality of learning and skills that will enable youth to make the transition to a working life.

The United Nations, for its part, is well-placed to act as a platform for dialogue aimed at enhancing collaboration and building trust between Governments and the private sector.  That is why we are here today.  I hope your discussions will also contribute to the broader consideration of the subject at the Economic and Social Council later this year.  Thank you for your participation and for your commitment to education.  I wish you fruitful deliberations.

* *** *

For information media • not an official record