Commissioners Convene in New York City

One year after the Learning Generation report launch, Commission leadership met in New York to review how recommendations have become action and discuss how to best accelerate progress across the four transformations called for in the report. There are important milestones to be celebrated, such as new funding for education in emergencies alongside a renewed sense of urgency to secure more and better funds for education globally.

Under the performance transformation, Commissioners discussed the “delivery approach,” an intervention characterized by a focus on ruthless prioritization: “It’s 10% planning, 90% implementation,” remarked Commission Director Liesbet Steer. Plans are underway to commence delivery labs in select African countries that have participated in the Pioneer Country initiative. These labs will enable countries to emerge with a detailed plan to achieve desired education transformations, and the concrete steps to get there. After the first wave of labs, lessons learned will be applied to the next group of participating countries.

Further to a recommended innovation transformation, Commissioners also discussed education workforce reforms. The Commission is responding to this challenge with its new Education Workforce Initiative, designed to bring fresh thinking into how to grow and diversify the workforce of educators so as to ensure young people are learning. As stressed by the initiative, it is essential that teachers are supported by a diversified education workforce.

Commissioners reviewed the latest advances driving the International Finance Facility for Education’s design which is being developed in consultation with stakeholders worldwide and backstopped by a groundbreaking acknowledgment by the 2017 Group of 20. Following a discussion on this proposed transformation in finance, Commission Director Justin W. van Fleet provided an update on the broader international finance architecture for education and the funds needed to close the education financing gap to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 4.

Commissioners also stressed the need to measure learning for the most marginalized populations, as per the inclusion recommendations set out in the Learning Generation report, and signaled the significant benefits that could be obtained through a Global Learning Indicator.

Financing the Future event discusses progress towards SDG4

Several members of the Commission participated in “Financing the Future: Education 2030,” an event that took place at the UN Economic and Social Council, sponsored by the governments of Norway, France, Malawi and Senegal and jointly organized by UNICEF, UNESCO, the Global Partnership for Education, the Malala Fund, the ONE Campaign and the Education Commission. During the gathering, Commissioners present – which included Julia Gillard, Amel Karboul, Jakaya Kikwete, Ju-Ho Lee and Theo Sowa – made the case for more and better finance for education, as well as the central role civil of society and the need to shift the focus from schooling to learning.


With the Commission’s 2017 Progress Report on participants’ desks, and the Learning Generation video opening the event, attendees were brought into contact with the Commission’s agenda for action. One of the Commission’s recommendations has long been a successful, and expanded, Global Partnership for Education replenishment, which was a call for action guiding the event. Commission Co-convener Erna Solberg stressed that “quality education is the best investment we can make for the future.” And Commission Chair Brown added “Let’s be the first generation that can say every single child can go to school.”

But wait – there’s more

The Commission used Global Goals Week as a moment to advance multiple strategic initiatives, among them the Pioneer Country Initiative. In a special session convened by Chair Brown and Commissioner Kikwete, and attended by the Vice President of Botswana Mokgweetsi Masisi, the Ugandan First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports Janet Museveni, and a representative from the Tanzanian Mission, participants discussed advancing the delivery labs in their respective countries. All parties were enthusiastic about the proposals, and having received delegation visits months earlier, were ready to proceed with initiatives to accelerate educational momentum already underway.

The Commission carried Learning Generation report recommendations and our agenda for action to a number of parallel education events taking place throughout the week. At the Global Business Coalition for Education breakfast, Commissioner Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala asked “How do we teach our children how to learn, so they can thrive in the future?” And Commissioner Amel Karboul noted that to achieve a true education transformation, “we need people from across sectors working together.”

Whether at a Brookings event on innovation, or an Asia Society gathering, the Education Commission had the privilege of working together with many of our partners during Global Goals Week to showcase progress made and how an inclusive and quality education for all can be delivered.