Linking education to human capital development

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

At the opening of the 13th session of the Committee for Development Policy (CDP) today, Mr. Sha Zukang, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, highlighted that “despite progress in many areas, according to the latest MDG Report, the pace is insufficient to ensure that all girls and boys complete primary schooling by the target year 2015.”

CDP provides inputs and independent advice to the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) on emerging development issues and on international cooperation for sustainable development. During this session, the Committee will provide recommendations on issues including education, capacity building for the least development countries (LDC), migration and the UN development agenda beyond 2015.

“Education is a human right; it is the heart of sustainable development of any country”, emphasized the First Vice-President of ECOSOC, Mr. Milos Koterec. “It is critical to the development of individuals and societies, and it helps pave the way to a successful and productive future.”

However, to achieve sustainable development, it is not enough that all children receive education; the quality is also crucial. Several countries reported that they had undertaken significant efforts to increase access to basic education. At the same time, a number of alarming reports show that the education systems in several countries have major quality shortcomings.

Literacy is often one of the measurements of educational quality. In the report “Beyond Education For All: Meeting The Human Resources Needs For LDCs”, Wahiduddin Mahmud, Professor of Economics at Dhaka University, presents recent findings, showing that a “majority of students could not read even a sentence of their own language”.

Another missing component is the lack of demand for highly-skilled workers. The opportunities offered for an educated workforce are important for achieving development goals. “Linking education to human resource development is key to raising productivity and accelerating growth in LDCs,” noted Professor Mahmud. It is also essential to create opportunities in the global market through technology adaptation, development, and economic change.

CDP will conclude its session on March 25, presenting its advice to ECOSOC on education, migration, revision of the LDC criteria and the monitoring of graduating countries. It will also establish the work agenda for the year ahead.

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