The International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity (the Education Commission) – a group of composed of heads of government, business and education leaders – has called for the international community to make the largest investment in educational opportunity in history to avoid leaving behind half a youth generation. On current trends, the Commission points out that by 2030:
- 825 million children in low and middle income countries, half of the world’s 1.6 billion children, will not be able to secure basic secondary-level skills equipping them for the labor market
- 228 million children will not be in school
- 400 million will leave school without primary level qualifications
The Commission has proposed four transformations – improved performance, harnessed innovation, expanded finance and increased inclusion – drawing on the lessons of the top 25% of education performers around the world. In parallel, the Commission calls for a “Financing Compact for the Learning Generation” between countries ready to invest and reform and the international community.
By 2030, the Commission’s plan would ensure:
- All children would have access to quality preschool, primary, and secondary education.
- All 10 year-olds would have functional literacy and numeracy.
- Children in low-income countries would be as likely to reach the level of secondary school skills as those in high-income countries today.
- There would be a significant increase in post-secondary learning.
- Inequalities in participation and learning within countries would be sharply reduced.
Today, Universal Children’s Day, is a historical anchor point, a moment when the international community unites to “promote international togetherness, awareness among children worldwide, and improving children’s welfare.” It was on this day in 1954 that the UN adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, and it was this day in 1989 when the Convention on the Rights of the Child was passed. And yet there is still much work to be done as millions of children remain out-of-school and deprived of that most fundamental right to an education. So during the coming year, the Commission’s initiatives are designed to realize the Learning Generation vision as we:
- Support Pioneer Countries: This initiative will work to inspire leadership in countries to take on the Commission’s recommendations. Through this process, the Commission hopes to demonstrate the impact of domestic governments and international actors working together. Led by Commissioner Jakaya Kikwete, the first delegation visits have already met with the Presidents Uganda, Malawi and Tanzania. Over the next several months, a dozen presidential meetings will be held as part of this initiative.
- Establish Multilateral Development Bank Investment Mechanism: The Commission will work with multilateral development banks and other international public and private actors to harness the potential of MDBs to finance education through more coordinated efforts. The Commission has met with the leaders of the World Bank and each of the regional development banks. All have pledged their support to take forward the work on this recommendation over the coming year.
- Strengthen Global Accountability: The Commission is working with UN agencies and missions to identify how to take forward accountability and monitoring recommendations outlined in the report. The Commission is also working with partner governments, organizations and agencies on accountability dashboards to hold all countries and donors accountable for their efforts to ensure an expansion of educational opportunity in line with the Learning Generation vision.
- Catalyze Strategic Initiatives: The Commission will aim to ensure that the remaining recommendations are prepared and handed off to relevant institutions, governments and partners to take forward the implementation.
This year, Universal Children’s Day should be a moment where global leaders come together once again – this time to achieve the Learning Generation vision.