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Can We Close the Education Gap?

Created date

Friday, August 31, 2007 - 05:20

The right to an education is recognized as one of the most fundamental human rights, benefiting individuals and strengthening whole communities and civilizations. Access to education for all is enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and national laws. In Millennium Development Goal 2, governments have pledged to ensure that all girls and boys complete a full course of primary schooling; Goal 3 and the "Education For All" goals agreed in Dakar in 2000 emphasize extending this pledge to secondary education.

Yet at the half-way point towards 2015, the gaps are daunting: 80 million children (44 million of them girls) are out of school, with marginalized groups (26 million disabled and 30 million conflict-affected children) continuing to be excluded. And while universal access is critical, it must be coupled with improved learning outcomes – in particular, children achieving the basic literacy, numeracy and life skills essential for poverty reduction. An estimated $12 billion is needed annually to meet the EFA goals – including early childhood care and learning, life skills for young people, and a 50% increase in adult literacy - but donor pledges need to be closely followed by actual disbursements.

This edition of Global Future examines the effectiveness of the international community’s efforts to achieve education for all, and what needs to change for the next seven years if the MDGs for education are to succeed.

Source: Global Future, Number 2, 2007