Education: reaching all children

Education-for-All-A-Fundamental-Right (UN Photo Milton Grant)

“The MDG framework is useful but risks encouraging a quantity – rather than quality driven strategy”, said Professor Sakiko Fukuda-Parr on behalf of the Committee for Development Policy (CDP) at the opening of the 2011 Global Preparatory Meeting for the 2011 Annual Ministerial Review of the Economic and Social Council.

Education is a powerful tool to reduce inequality. However, it can also have contrary effects when access and quality of education are unequal.

Mr. Jan Grauls, Vice-President of ECOSOC, reporting back on the Regional Preparatory Meeting for Africa organized by DESA, stressed the lack of equity in delivering educational services and low quality of education, especially in Sub-Saharan countries.

He urged to approach education “as a human right” and to focus on excluded zones. The uneven distribution of the limited educational resources was also addressed. Rural compulsory education is still a weakness.

Reporting on the e-discussion on “Education: Closing the gap”, Mr. Nicolas Alipui, Director of Programmes at UNICEF, stressed the need to ensure accountability of schools at local levels, because most schools are controlled at a local or community level. He further urged that gaps in knowledge be addressed by innovative educational strategies and use of technology.

Mr. Sha Zukang, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, stated in his closing remarks: “For education spending to be effective, broad support is needed to raise more revenue in the first place, and to determine spending priorities.” He continued, “while listening to Governments is important, we need to hear the voices of educators and students as well.”

The preparatory meeting was held under the theme “Meeting the internationally agreed goals and commitments with regard to education”.

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