Why did you choose to focus on the theme of Youth, Work and Skills this year?
The social and economic challenges of recent years have focused attention on the availability of skills and learning opportunities for the young. The challenges of rising youth unemployment, economic downturn and a growing youth population in certain regions brought a sense of urgency to this goal and made it an evident focus for our Annual Report. This Education for All Goal has not been given the attention it deserves in the past because of the ambiguity of the commitments made when EFA goals were established in 2000. Our hope is that this year’s Global Monitoring Report will focus more attention on the urgent and growing need to deliver skills training to young people today.
Why is economic growth so important when talking about education?
Economic growth matters because it raises average income. By raising the productivity of the poor, more equitable education can increase overall growth and the share of growth that accrues to those below the poverty line.
What’s the key finding in your report?
The top finding in the 2012 Education for All Global Monitoring Report is that there are 200 million young people in developing countries who have not even completed primary school and lack skills for work. These young people urgently need a second chance to learn basic skills so that they can put food on their table and money in their pockets.
As part of its annual review of progress towards the Education for All Goals, the Global Monitoring Report has also found that all the goals are off track, some by a large margin. We must make sure that children of primary school age are helped to access school and stay the course so they do not end up in the same situation as the millions of young people today without skills for work.
How can you be sure this (any) global figure is correct?
Any global figure that looks at developing countries is not going to be 100% watertight. However, one has to start somewhere. The skills deficit faced by young people today is a present and growing problem. We need statistics to start having an idea of the policy response and resources needed to solve it. We hope this will spark debate and make this a real issue for all future conversations on education with even more watertight data to follow.
Why do you not know this (any) stat?
Our Report monitors every country for which there is data, charting their progress or not from 1999 until today. I am afraid I have been unable to learn every statistic, but recommend you visit our website where you can find all of our data to download and share with your contacts.
What can governments do?
Governments must lead the way, along with donors and the private sector, in prioritizing and resourcing skills training for young people, and especially the disadvantaged – women, and the rural and urban poor - so that they can find well paid work. Reallocating some of the US$3.1 billion that aid donors currently spend on scholarships and imputed costs for developing country students to study in donor countries would go a long way towards helping provide the US$8 billion needed to ensure all youth attend lower secondary school.
In addition, governments must tackle the barriers that limit access to lower secondary school such as school fees, increasing access in remote rural areas, and linking lower secondary to primary schools.
What is your advice to governments for overcoming disadvantages faced by young people in their country?
Urban youth need foundation skills first and foremost which should be built into strategies that combine literacy and numeracy together with technical and vocational skills, along with training and access to funds for young people who aspire to be entrepreneurs. Public interventions should build on traditional apprenticeship systems to ensure skills acquired are recognized and can be transferred to other work settings.
Rural poor need skills to increase the productivity of their small-holder farms, and protect their land from climate change. This training can be taught in farmer field schools and via cooperatives and should harness the potential of technology to deliver training to those living in the most remote areas. Young women in particular need such training. They also need training in entrepreneurial and business skills to enable them to expand their livelihood options through non-farm work.
Rural and urban poor and women in particular need combined packages of skills training, microfinance and social protection to help counter the multiple forms of disadvantage that lock youth into poverty.
Why is the financing gap for primary smaller than the financing gap for secondary school?
The cost of providing basic education for all is estimated to total US$16 billion. This year’s Report estimates that it would cost US$8 billion to provide secondary school for all out of school adolescents. The financing gap for basic education is larger than the gap for secondary school because basic education includes both primary and pre-primary education. Both are vital to set a child up for life with the basic skills they need, and to help their future ability to learn.
How can having good self-esteem help get better employment?
Employers want assurances that young people can deploy the knowledge they learnt at school to solve problems, take the initiative and communicate with team members, rather than just follow prescribed routines. These transferable skills are not taught from a textbook, but can be acquired through good quality education. Much more needs to be done for the disadvantaged youth to develop these skills
How did you calculate the 200million figure?
Arriving at robust estimates of the numbers that second-chance programmes need to reach is not easy. The EFA Global Monitoring Report team drew on data from Demographic and Health Surveys and Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys in fifty-nine low and middle income countries to calculate the number of 15- to 24-year-olds who have not completed primary school.
The percentage of the youth population that has not completed primary education is strongly correlated with the youth illiteracy rate. Building on this relationship, the team carried out an analysis suggesting that 199 million youth need a second chance in 123 low and middle income countries. This is equivalent to around one in five young people worldwide. Of these, 58% are female.
The challenges for some regions and countries in providing a second-chance education for these young people are enormous. Of those in the 123 countries, the vast majority live in South and West Asia (91 million) and sub- Saharan Africa (57 million). Almost one in three Africans has not had the opportunity to acquire even the most basic skills. Even in the Arab States, around one in five have not completed primary school. Over half of young people requiring a second chance reside in just five countries: Bangladesh, Ethiopia, India, Nigeria and Pakistan.
The most cost-effective way to provide basic skills is to ensure that all children have access to good quality primary schooling in the first place. As long as this is still not a reality, there is an urgent need to ensure that all young people today have a second chance to achieve this goal.
Surely, at a time when economies most need a boost, if we need quick pay back, we should not be focusing on the disadvantaged, but on those who will benefit faster from training and be able to take up jobs needing higher skilled workers?
We will never break the cycle of poverty and reduce inequalities if we do not include the disadvantaged in skills training. And investing in skills and education for all does pay back tenfold in economic growth. Korea recognized this long-back, and has enjoyed a 1.7% GDP growth since the 1970s.
Can you prove the Arab Spring was due to a skills deficit?
Our report does not attempt to show or give any proof that the Arab Spring was due to a skills deficit. What it does show, however, is that youth unemployment is a present and growing problem, not just in developing but also developed countries. One in four young people earn under $`1.25 a day. One in eight are unemployed. There is no doubt that such a situation will create youth frustration which risks boiling over into social upheaval and unrest. Before the revolution in Egypt, for example, a quarter of young people in Egypt had been unemployed for more than 2 years.
How much would giving skills to the 200 million costs?
Our Report has not calculated the total cost of giving skills training to the 200 million young people without skills for work. However, we do know that Indonesia is rolling out training at $300 per child, with 80% of those recipients ending up employed and earning at least the minimum wage.
We also have calculated that the cost of putting every child in school is $16 billion a year, with another $8 billion a year to give every adolescent the chance of going to secondary school too. Finding these funds would ensure that another generation of young people does not end up needing second chance programmes as urgently as today’s do.
Our Report calculates that $1 invested in education and skills results in $10-15 over that working person’s lifetime. Giving these young people a second chance, even if it does involve financing those programmes to begin with, will bring back a profit.
Aren’t you narrowing down the focus of education by saying it’s just there for work?
Education’s sole purpose is not just to prepare people for employment. However, a young person’s ability to greet the world of work with confidence is vital for their future ability to put food on their table and money in their pockets. For this reason, it is vital that from lower secondary school onwards, education furnish young people with relevant skills for the labour market so that they are able to find gainful employment, be sure that they will not have to live in working poverty, and live fulfilled lives.
What is the role of the UN on this subject?
The report calls for much stronger global efforts to support the role of education, as well as agencies including UNICEF and UNESCO who work tirelessly to promote the right of children to free and quality schooling for life.
Why do you think universal lower secondary education will be achievable by 2030?
Any target needs to be based on aspiration and ambition. If we look at progress in the early part of the 2000s we can see that fast progress is possible. If this were to continue in the coming years, it should be possible to ensure all young people have access to lower secondary schooling by 2030.
There is a campaign for Ban ki Moon to pay all the UN’s interns. What do you have to say on this? Do you have interns in your team? Do you pay them?
Internships provide a route for students to discover the world of work, find out career ideas, find increased motivation for school and learn transferable skills. To provide good quality training, however, they require a high level commitment from employers and well developed legal and institutional frameworks.
As with all its recruitment procedures at UNESCO, the internship system is run fairly and transparently through a formal application process on its website. Within the GMR team, we take on students pursuing a postgraduate degree programme. We make sure to find them a role within the team which remunerates them with the on-the-job experience which will complement their education and career choices. As our Report shows, these internships will improve the interns chances of finding work that is better paid in the future.
In what countries or regions does the transition from the school to the work place function especially well?
The Republic of Korea, upgraded the skills of the whole population by achieving universal primary and secondary education, and then linked its plans for job creation back to those skills it knew people had just learnt. By tying its education and training together with its plans for economic development in this way, it has enjoyed a 1.7% increase in GDP ever since.
Germany too: Dual Apprenticeships linking education, vocational training and businesses to combine practical with theoretical training. Both have had huge impact. Germany has 8% unemployment to the UK’s 22%, for example.
How are things looking when it comes to equal opportunity for young men and women entering the workforce - are we making progress here?
The disadvantages young women face in accessing education will carry through into the world of work
- Women are often a majority of those classified as inactive. The gender gap is often very large among young people who have dropped out of the education system after completing only primary school.
- In Jordan, over 80% of young women with only primary education were not actively seeking employment, compared with 20% of young men.
What does UNESCO do to make sure it gets honest and accurate reports from the countries surveyed?
Everything we publish in the GMR has been rigorously checked and verified. If sources are not robust, you can trust us to say as much. All data is collected via rigorous processes from sources, primarily the UNESCP Institute of Statistics (UIS).
All UIS data is verified in collaboration with governments and if there are doubts then they are not published. For example, you will notice we have omitted to include any out of school statistics for Bangladesh and Brazil this year.
How are we expected to pay for this when we’re all tightening our belts?
The cost of universal secondary education is an additional US$8 billion. This does not all need to be new funding. US$3 billion of aid to post-secondary education is being spent on scholarships in developed countries and could be re-directed back to core skills in developing countries. For the amount it costs for one Nepalese student to study on scholarship in Japan, for example, as many as 229 young people could go to secondary education in Nepal. Likewise, money spent on upper education is wasted if the vast majority has not yet even been enrolled in primary school. This money would be better spent funding second chance education and better access to secondary education.
New, innovative forms of funding have great potential to fund education for all as well. Our report calculates that maximizing income from 17 resource-rich countries could raise up to US$5 billion for education and skills training – enough to reach 86% of their out of school children.
Similarly, the private sector – a key beneficiary of an educated, skilled population - could step up to help fill the funding gap more than they are at present.
Lastly, we must put the US$8 billion in perspective. This is just 20 dollars per European citizen and is proven to pay back tenfold in terms of economic growth.
Why don’t we have the exact statistic showing the number of young people in (eg) India without skills?
We have exact statistics for every country where there are household surveys showing number of children who have not completed primary school and youth literacy rates. There was no such survey from India. This means that the figure we have used for India is an approximation, guided by common trends running throughout all other countries with available household surveys, and therefore should not be used as an exact measure.
How did you calculate that $1 comes back in $10=15?
We looked at 46 countries where two-thirds of all out of school children live, and where the average annual income is only about US$500. There, we looked at the relationship between learning outcomes and growth. Our calculation showed that, if an additional 75% of 15-year-olds reached the lowest benchmark on the PISA test score for mathematics at the end of a ten-year period, economic growth could improve by 2.1% and 104 million more people living on less than US$1.25 per day would be lifted out of extreme poverty.
The investment in education would pay off handsomely: for every US$1 spent on education, between US$10 and US$15 would be generated through the economic growth premium over a working lifetime of eighteen to twenty-two years
Do the policy recommendations in the GMR represent the official stance of the UN/of UNESCO?
The Global Monitoring report is an independent report that is published by UNESCO. Our analysis and summaries assess UN agencies’ activities as much as NGOs and governments. As such the recommendations do not represent the official stance of the UN nor UNESCO but are the views of the Global Monitoring Report alone.
Why don’t you use 2011 data where it is available?
For the vast majority of countries, data are available only for 2010 (or earlier). Where there are data from 2011, we have included them in the report.
Why do you refer to ‘young people’ as 15-24 years?
Our definition of youth as 15-24 years is from the WHO’s definition.
How did you calculate the natural resource figure?
We grouped low and middle income countries with youth literacy rates below 90% that are either dependent on natural resources or have recently discovered oil, gas or minerals. We based our calculations on two assumptions.
First, it is assumed that governments would maximize the amount of revenue raised from natural resources (measured by the ratio of natural resource revenue to export receipts). Thus, mineral-rich countries would convert 30% of their mining export receipts into government revenue. On average, mineral-rich countries currently retain around 20%, though Mauritania has reached 30% and Botswana and Mongolia have passed 50%. For oil-rich countries, the scenario would bring all countries up to the current average of 75% of oil exports being converted to government revenue. Government revenue from oil tends to be higher because it is easier to quantify and tax than minerals, it involves lower up-front investment and a good share of world oil production is done through nationally owned companies.
Second, the scenario assumes that countries will channel 20% of these new resources to education. Low and middle income countries currently spend, on average, 16% of their budget on education.
The potential gains for education are enormous. In a group of seventeen countries where extra revenue could be raised, natural resources could fund schooling for 86% of the 12 million out-of-school children and 42% of the 9 million out-of-school adolescents.
What can the public do?
- Help us spread the word – governments, donors and the private sector can do more to help disadvantaged young people acquire skills for gainful employment. This report provides enough evidence that shows that this is achievable. If you have influence on policy makers, or work in the area, go to our website where you can find the key statistics, and pre-prepared presentations, info graphics, photos and more to help communicate what the biggest challenges are today for EFA, and where policy attention needs to focus. You can ask us questions directly on that site too.
- Go to our website – efareport.unesco.org, follow us on twitter for the most up to date findings on @EFA Report or using the hashtag #YouthSkillsWork. Join our tweet chat on the 16th October
- If you care about those affected by the skills crisis, and particularly the disadvantaged, and/or are affected yourself, help us campaign to inform policy makers about the problems young people without skills are facing today. Give your voice through blogs, tweets, photos and audio to inform an online presentation we will deliver to Ministers of Education around the world. Download our web banner, join our tweet chat on the 16th October all day, and join in the conversation on #YouthSkillsWork.
Why are there only 80 countries in WIDE?
We have only included the countries for which there is available data
What data is this report using?
The data used in this report mainly comes from 2010, the latest year available. .
How many countries are on track to meet the goals?
Last year’s GMR made calculations of how many countries were on track to meet the goals. However, this year, we have instead focused on different elements which are crucial to achieving the goals. These include the late entry of students, the importance of learning, the problem of illiteracy in developed countries and more.
What we can say is that:
- 55 out of 126 countries have now reached UPE. 29 countries that today have fewer than 85 out of every 100 children in school are highly unlikely to reach the goal. (Of these 16 are in sub-Saharan Africa).
- Of the 167 countries with data, 104 have equal numbers of boys to girls in school. (23 countries have equal numbers of girls to boys in school now which did not in 1999)
- Of the 73 countries with data, 36 countries are expected to meet the goal of halving their illiteracy rates by 2015. 14 other countries who won’t meet the goal are expected to come within less than 5 percentage points of the target.
What progress and regression has there been since last year?
- Pakistan and India’s out of school children dropped by around 1.5 million
- Ethiopia by just under a million from 2007 to 2010.
- Progress seen since 1999 is continuing in some countries.
- Afghanistan: the country has overcome the biggest obstacles to girls’ education any country has witnessed: from less than 4% of girls enrolling in 1999 to 79% enrolling in 2010.
However, progress overall on all of the goals is far too slow. None of them are on track, and some by a large margin.
- EFA2: Even the goal to achieve universal primary education – the most watched goal of all – is not on track. Progress started stagnating four years ago leaving 61 million out of school.
- The number of out of school children has actually increased in sub-Saharan Africa from 2008-2010.
- In Nigeria alone, the number of out of school children has increased by almost 2 million.
- EFA 3: The same stagnation can be seen for the number of out of school adolescents – 71 million.
- EFA2: Health and hunger challenges – e.g. Sahel crisis. 171 million children are stunted from malnutrition and their ability to learn risks being impacted for life.
- EFA 6: Growing problem of learning. 250 million children can’t read or write whether they’ve spent four years in school or not.
- SKILLS: As a result, a fifth of young people never completed primary school and lacks the skills they need for work.
Why do we not have any data on out-of-school children for some countries?
It is always hard gathering data for the number of children who are out of school and especially in developing countries. For some countries where the UNESCO Institute for Statistics is not fully sure about the data, the figures will not appear in our report. This does mean we omit some countries that are likely to have large numbers of out of school children due to their previously low rates and current large populations. They include Brazil, China and Bangladesh.
Why is the world not on track to reach these goals? What went wrong?
For many reasons that vary from country to country – but principally because of policy failures in developing countries and a failure of northern governments to live up to their commitments on aid.
The Report highlights the ongoing reluctance of many governments to tackle inequalities in education based on wealth, gender and other factors. It also draws attention to the poor quality of education evident in many countries: too often, children are emerging from several years of basic education lacking even the most basic literacy and numeracy skills, let alone a foundation for the development of critical thinking and problem solving skills.
The global financial crisis increased pressure on government education budgets, some of which were cut in 2009. Even so, some countries could do a lot more to increase the share of national income that is spent on education.
The crisis has affected aid budgets, too, but donors need to look at the long-term benefits of investing in education for all, and meet the commitments they have already made – at the moment they are a long way behind the promises they made in 2005 to increase aid. At the moment aid to basic education is stagnant.
As a result it’s looking unlikely that the world will come anywhere near meeting the Education for All goals by 2015.
Is it because of corruption that many countries have not reached their Education targets?
There are varied and complicated reasons why countries have not reached their targets.
A primary reason would be that, as we all know, we can’t make major inroads in challenges such as these if we don’t have finances to back us up. The financing of Education for All promised at Dakar, has not been forthcoming. Only $5.8 billion was contributed by donors for basic education in 2010, leaving a large funding gap before we can provide the $16 billion needed annually for primary education for all.
As our last GMR report showed, conflict also has a huge impact on the chances a child can have of a decent education. 42% of the worlds out of school children live in conflict affected countries and yet education only receives 2% of humanitarian aid.
Why do we say that the out-of-school numbers have stagnated, but the figure this year is lower than last year (61 vs. 67 mil)?
While this is a smaller number than reported in the EFA Global Monitoring Report 2011, it reflects an adjustment resulting from updating global population figures. There has been no improvement in enrolment in the last two years.
How has India managed to reduce its out of school numbers from 5.5 million to 2.2 million in just a year?
New population estimates and the rise in enrolments of primary age (6-10 years) explain the fall from 2008 to 2007 in the number of out of school children in India. The rise in enrolment is largely thanks to the political will and investment that India has put into improving access, although there is still a long way to go to ensure every child in the country is in school and learning
Why is there no data for Bangladesh this year (there was last year)?
Unfortunately, the new population estimates for Bangladesh are not credible so we have had to withdraw all age-based indicators including the numbers of out of school children.
Why is there is such a large increase in the numbers of out of school children in Nigeria?
This year’s figures include an estimation of the ages of pupils from MICS (Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey) 2007 for 2007 and onwards. Last year’s figures were taken from DHS 2003 for all years. The number of children of any age enrolling in primary school has declined by 10% between 2006-10. UNESCO’s Institute for Statistics has estimated that the enrolment of children of primary school age (6-11 years) has declined by 5% over the same period. However, during those same years, the UNPD estimates that the population of primary school age has increased by 12%. This divergence between the enrolments and population estimates has resulted in a very large increase in the estimates of OOSC.
When will we reach 0?
There are as yet no projections on the timeframes for achieving Education for All. This is something we aim to cover in next year’s GMR. As monitors of the progress, we feel it is our duty to expose the extent of the delays in getting all children into school.
If some of the Millennium Development Goals cannot be achieved by 2015, is there talk of extending the time frame for meeting the goals?
We have to achieve what we set out to do. We made a promise to children.
However, there’s a long way to go before EFA which has already sparked conversations about targets in the longer term.
Education First, the UN Secretary-General’s Global Initiative is one indication of this. It is the first time a UN Secretary General has given such prominence to education and is proof of the distance we have still to go before ensuring a free and quality education for all. The deadlines for his targets are in 2018.
Our own Report this year, believes we can set a target for achieving universal access to secondary school for all adolescents by 2030.
As we have been recommending in many of our Reports over the past years too, the world must include the disadvantaged and hardest to reach in its ambitions for progress. If we do not, we will not reach our Goals. For this reason, we recommend including equity based targets within any new Global goals which are set for the post-2015 agenda.
What is Education First and why is it important?
Education First is a five-year United Nations initiative to bolster global action on education. It leverages the convening power of the UN Secretary-General to generate a renewed push to achieve the education goals set for 2015. Despite major advances, there is still a long way to go. Progress has stalled and the economic crisis is increasing vulnerability and inequalities. Education First aims to mobilize the political will and financial resources needed to reverse this trend, and get the world back on track to meeting its education commitments. It will also help lay the groundwork for a bold vision for education post-2015, advocating that education must figure prominently in the next global development agenda if the latter is to succeed.
The decision by Ban Ki-moon to make education a top priority is historic and highly significant. This is the first time that a UN Secretary-General has given such prominence to education. Mr Ban’s own personal experience bears an influence, coming from a country that made education the single most important driver of its recovery and development. However, this decision is also a result of sustained advocacy backed by strong evidence that UNESCO has carried out as the lead agency for Education for All. The case is irrefutable: good quality education beats poverty, improves health and well-being, and promotes growth. Simply put, education is the foundation for achieving development goals and makes progress sustainable. The launch of Education First shows how this conviction is gaining force. It provides an opportunity to raise the profile of education on the development agenda and generate increased support at the highest levels of government and society.
What will be the focus of the initiative?
Education First puts forward three priorities for action: putting every child into school, improving the quality of learning, and fostering global citizenship.
The first priority calls for targeted action to address the factors of exclusion that prevent children from accessing and completing basic education. UNESCO has consistently highlighted the need for much greater attention to be given to addressing inequities in education, in particular for girls and children living in conflict-affected areas. Education First will support these efforts to overcome the barriers to school enrolment and completion.
The second priority underscores that ensuring access is only the first step to fulfilling the right to education and urges renewed emphasis on the quality of learning. It not only points to in-school factors affecting education, such as teacher quality, learning materials, the language of instruction, or the monitoring and assessment of learning outcomes, but also external factors, such as malnutrition, the family environment, or the mismatch of skills and job markets. Education First will help UNESCO and its partners to refocus political attention on these integral, yet oft-neglected, aspects of the education agenda.
The third priority goes to the heart of the question of what education is for. It reaffirms the vision, enshrined in UNESCO’s Constitution, that education is the single most powerful means to promote peace, human rights, democratic values and responsible citizenship. It urges the need for a radical transformation of education systems so that they equip leaner’s with the skills and values needed to participate meaningfully in society and contribute creatively to forging more inclusive and sustainable patterns of development. Building on many of the core tenants of UNESCO education programme, Education First will promote the broad and inclusive reforms required to ensure that education systems are preparing learners to be engaged global citizens.
To focus action under these priorities, and ensure accountability, Education First identifies ten key actions with concrete targets: To support progress in these priority areas, 10 key actions with concrete targets have been set: 1) Enroll all children in school; 2) Ensure all children are literate and numerate; 3)Train more teachers; 4.Equip classrooms with books and learning material; 5) Sustain Education in humanitarian crises, especially conflict; 6) Prepare student for livelihoods; 7) Improve child nutrition; 8) Instill lifelong learning; 9) Foster global citizenship; 10) Close the finance gap.
All stakeholders – particularly governments, but also multilateral and civil society organizations, the business, philanthropic media and academic communities, teachers, students and parents – have a role to play in delivering on these targets. As UNESCO has always stated, education is everyone’s business and Education First calls for collective action and collective responsibility.
What is UNESCO’s role in Education First?
UNESCO has played a pivotal role in shaping Education First from the outset. The Education Sector was entrusted with establishing the overall concept for the initiative and reaching agreement among our sister UN agencies, the World Bank and civil society partners on its three priority areas. The latter build on UNESCO’s own strategic objectives and reflect what our research and data show to be essential actions for accelerating progress towards Education for All.
In recognition of UNESCO’s intellectual leadership in education, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon invited Director-General Irina Bokova to serve as Executive Secretary of the initiative’s Steering Committee, which is charged with advising Mr. Ban on how to take forward the initiative. As such, UNESCO will have an important responsibility for maintaining the momentum over the next five years and ensuring accountability for commitments made. Given our proven expertise in monitoring education trends, UNESCO will have a special role to play in assessing progress and achievements under the initiative. As global EFA coordinator, UNESCO will also continue to ensure that Education First is positioned in such a way that it builds upon existing education efforts and reinforces effective partnerships already in place.
What is the relationship between Education First and the Education for All movement?
Education First will support UNESCO in its efforts to spur renewed action to achieve the Education for All and Millennium Development Goals.
In helping to design the initiative, UNESCO has made sure that Education First aligns with the Organization’s strategic objectives in education and is fully integrated with the new EFA architecture and advocacy.
At a strategic level, we have highlighted within the initiative the interlocking nature of the six EFA goals, pushing the attention of the international community beyond its restricted focus on universal primary enrolment.
In terms of structural coherence, UNESCO has ensured that its core EFA partners are members of the Steering committee, establishing continuity between the initiative and UNESCO’s own coordination mechanisms.
The Global Education Meeting in November will be an important opportunity to discuss how the momentum generated by Education First can best be harnessed to support the EFA movement. There are at least three important areas where the initiative can add impetus.
First, the personal involvement of the UN Secretary-General will help to mobilize world leaders behind EFA and put education higher on global agendas, such as the G8 and G20. Such top-level political engagement will be decisive to meeting the goals. Education has recently lost visibility to other issues on the international stage and many donors have shifted funding away from the sector. The initiative will support UNESCO and its partners in making education the first priority for development.
Second, Education First will help UNESCO in its efforts to engage partners from outside the education world, such as business community, philanthropic organizations and the media. These partners have the potential to bring new ideas, new funding, and new energy behind EFA. The UN campaign can leverage these resources.
Third, the initiative can support UNESCO in its work to ensure education remains at the heart of any new development agenda. UNESCO is supporting a thorough country-driven process to assess EFA progress since 2000 and set a vision for education post 2015. Education First will help UNESCO to bring the results of this process to bear on global development discussions.
Education First is not a parallel process but an overarching one that draws a bridge between now, 2015 and beyond.
Around 20 countries did not have data on which to make projections, including Afghanistan, Somalia, the former Sudan and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. This suggests that the estimate could, if anything, be an underestimate.