Education for life
Knowledge stimulates growth
Education can literally save lives. This is the conclusion of the current UNESCO Education for All Global Monitoring Report, which was presented in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa at the end of January. If more young women had the chance to at least attend primary school, they would know that clean water and mosquito nets could save their new-born babies from deadly infections. This could reduce infant mortality by a sixth. Since education also improves the chances for women and men of finding skilled work, it is also a boost for economic growth. Per capita income would increase by 23 percent within 40 years if every child in the world had equal access to education.
The twelfth UNESCO Education for All Global Monitoring Report documents the annual progress of the “Education for All” program, launched by the organization at the global education summit in Dakar in 2000.
A total of 164 nations signed up to its six educational goals. By 2015, they essentially intend to ensure that all children and young people receive free school education regardless of their background, gender, and family income. In the estimation of experts, this goal is no longer achievable in the next twelve months, despite falling illiteracy rates worldwide and progress in ensuring equal access to primary education. Across the world, 57 million children are still denied the opportunity to attend primary school.
An additional problem in many places is the quality of education. As many as 130 million children cannot read, write or do arithmetic despite having attended primary school. Poorly trained teachers and class sizes of 130 children to one teacher are just two of the reasons for this shocking state of affairs. As a result, children and young people in many countries are not adequately qualified for the labor market despite basic schooling.
With a view to fighting poverty, discrimination, and environmental problems, the report appeals to politicians and decision-makers to work more vigorously toward the expansion of educational provision. “Education provides sustainability to progress against all development goals. Educate mothers, and you empower women and save children’s lives. Educate communities, and you transform societies and grow economies,” says Irina Bokova, Director General of UNESCO.