On Monday, several members of the CEI team attended a presentation of the 2015 Education for All Global Monitoring Report (GMR). This is the last report in a series of fifteen, and marks the April 2000 anniversary of the creation of the Dakar Framework for Action and the corresponding launch of six education goals meant to be met by 2015. The report covers the progress made in meeting these goals, some of the potential inhibitors of progress, and lessons that can be applied in the shaping of the post-2015 global education agenda.
While there have been clear strides towards achieving universal education, the overall finding of the report is that there is still a great deal of progress to be made. As Director of the EFA GMR Aaron Benevot stated at the event that “there are sources for optimism….however, we did not reach education for all.”
Benavot highlighted the contents of the report by giving an overview of each of the six goals, and the report’s chapters on finance and recommendations for the post-2015 agenda. When going over the six goals (early childhood care and education, universal primary education, youth and adult skills, adult literacy, gender parity and equality, and quality education), he spoke of particular countries that have taken tangible steps in meeting goals, areas for improvement and failures, and successes in the policy world that have led to achievements in this space.
As an example, Benavot cited Mozambique’s success in tripling the number of primary schools and increasing enrollment by 35%. He mentioned how many low- and middle-income countries are instituting school feeding programs, providing free education, and promoting conditional cash transfer programs. However, he also mentioned that one out of every six children in low- and middle-income countries will not complete primary school in in the year 2015.
In regards to financing education, Benavot made the point that international aid to education fell by $1.3 billion USD between 2010 and 2012 and that this needs to be addressed. Liesbet Steer of the Brookings Institution’s Center for Universal Education and a panelist at the launch stated that going forward, low- and middle-income countries will need to increase their own domestic education funding, up from a current average of 40% to an average of 90%. She also mentioned that there is opportunity to look beyond the “usual suspects” and push for more CSR spending on education (currently it is only at 10%).
Steer went on to note that overall "there are two ways the report findings could be interpreted; either the whole effort in achieving Education for All was a failure between the years 2000 and 2015, or that it was a success as a lot of countries have made more progress than they have been making historically.” Her co-panelists, Penelope Bender of USAID, and Karen Mundy of the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) shared similar sentiments.
In their concluding statements, the panelists agreed that there is a great deal of work to be done post-2015, and in order to accomplish education for all going forward, there will need to be collaboration and support from a variety of stakeholders.