education for all
At last month's Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon shared the stage with Western Union President Hikmet Ersek, Nigerian Minister of Communication Technology Omobola Johnson, World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim, UN Special Envoy for Global Education, Gordon Brown and Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt, during an hour-long panel entitled, "The Global Education Imperative."
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called upon participants to strengthen efforts to achieve global targets related to education and health, stressing the importance of building a better future for all. He noted that progress in this critical field has stalled in recent years, which was the impetus for his recently launched Education First Initiative.
Recently, I was part of the Global Economic Symposium held in Rio de Janeiro. This year’s theme was Growth through Education and Innovation; I presented as part of a panel entitled Effective Investments in Education.
My presentation focussed on the fact that a growing and compelling body of research shows that teacher effectiveness varies widely - even across classrooms in the same grade in the same school. Getting assigned to a bad teacher has not only immediate, but also long term, consequences for student learning, college completion and long-term income.
Today in New York, the U.N. Secretary General announces the launch of his Education First initiative to raise the political profile of education, strengthen the global movement to achieve quality education and generate additional funding through sustained advocacy efforts.
It’s an exciting step on the road to achieving the Millennium Development Goals, and reconfirms the world’s commitment to education as a basic human right and fundamental building block for development.
On the occasion of International Literacy Day, World Bank President Jim Kim talks about the World Bank's Education Strategy 2020, and its role in promoting literacy and achieving universal learning.
The World Bank’s new Education Strategy, Learning for All, invites us to invest early, invest smartly, and invest for all. It proposes fostering a comprehensive view of education – a systems approach strengthened by a knowledge base on what works to improve education systems that can be shared amongst the global community.
“Households with more education cope better with economic shocks and extreme weather events. People with higher levels of education earn more, have more control over their fertility, and have healthier and better-educated children.” he says while referencing the World Bank’s new Education Strategy. “The new Strategy emphasizes the need to invest early, nurturing young children to ensure that they arrive at school healthy and ready to learn; to invest smartly, transforming schools with good teachers, good materials, and good management; and to invest for all, laying the foundation for just and equitable societies.”
As donors, developing country governments, civil society and private sector representatives gather in Copenhagen for the replenishment of the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), I feel both a sense of pride and urgency.
Last week in Jomtien, Thailand, Ministers of Education and senior education officials from 34 countries, joined by supporters from dozens of international agencies and civil society organizations, reaffirmed their commitment to achieving Education for All by 2015. This high level group was also commemorating the original launch of Education for All twenty years earlier, also in Jomtien. But education leaders committing themselves to education is preaching to the choir.
In my last post, 'Rockstars for Reading,' I argued that some of the most successful economies in the world are those that have invested most wisely in the education of their people. So what are the education investment secrets of the most successful countries? To put it another way, imagine if a finance minister from one of the most successful economies – such as Korea, Singapore, Brazil, or Mauritius -- were to assume the same post in another country. What might he or she tell the head of state to encourage more and smarter investment in education?
Twenty years ago when I was a relatively new economist at the World Bank, I was part of the Bank’s delegation to Jomtien, Thailand, where the heads of several multilateral development agencies, bilateral aid agencies, and leaders of 155 developing countries came together to declare their commitment to universal primary education.
I remember that the mood was upbeat—and not only because the venue was set along Thailand's sunny coast. There was a strong shared feeling that it was time to recommit to education as a basic human right, as highlighted by James Grant, the Executive Director of UNICEF at the time, and as a powerful instrument for reducing poverty and promoting development, as outlined by Barber Conable, World Bank President at the time.