Introduction to Education

Global Campaign for Education: World Off Track to Meet Education Goals, 72 Million Still Out of School

This article, published by Oxfam International, begins by outlining the education situation worldwide—as reported by the Global Campaign for Education–and how those numbers relate to the ultimate Millennium Development Goal of universal primary education. In terms of where the world is now, the scene is less than optimistic with a need of 18 million teachers to educate the 72 million children not attending school and the 774 million illiterate adults. The article reports on the promises made by wealthy nations to help developing nations in their mission for dramatically increased primary education. Broken promises have been identified in several of the 164 governments that originally signed the Education for All goals agreed upon in 2000.  With 1 billion people–a sixth of the world population– never having had access to education and a fourth of all women deterred by illiteracy, the crisis has never seemed more imminent. As of now, the most successful developing countries that are on their way to achieving the Millennium Development Goal of education are Mauritius, Latvia, Uruguay, Hungary, and Slovakia. Meanwhile, the developing countries of Haiti, Somalia, Guinea-Bissau, Micronesia, and the Central African Republic are in a state of utter failure in this respect.  Basic coverage of education has also substantially improved in countries such as Brazil, Mexico, Costa Rica, Cuba, Sri Lanka, and Thailand. Also very telling is the assessment of the provision of funds by the United States, which ranks at 146th on the global scale. Another shocking statistic is that one third of all school children are disabled, and in Africa only 10% of disabled children go to school. This article calls for certain developed countries to keep their promises in doing their part to help developing countries achieve universal primary education.

Oxfam International. “Global Campaign for Education: World Off Track to Meet Education Goals, 72 Million Still Out of School.” Oxfam International. 20 July 2009.

Ministers Missing in Action, Children Missing an Education, says the Global Campaign for Education

This article, also published by Oxfam International, again details the failure of developed countries to donate the needed funds to help developing countries achieve universal primary education. The article harshly criticizes countries like the United States, Germany, Italy, and Japan as being the “most miserly of the rich countries.” The article cites that in anticipation of a meeting in 2007, scheduled with nations’ leaders to secure more funds for education, there was a fear that these nations’ leaders and ministers of education would not attend, instead opting to send representatives in their places. The Global Campaign for Education’s demands include increasing money allocated to education to 6% of the nation’s GDP and allocating 20% of all budgets to education. In terms of demands of international institutions, the Campaign asks that developing countries be given sufficient fiscal space to enable both long-term and sustainable development.

Oxfam International. “Ministers missing in action, children missing an education, says the Global Campaign for Education.” 20 July 2009. Oxfam International.

SpeakOut: The Correlation Between Education and Poverty

In the 2007 World Development report, François Bourguignon states, “the correlation between education and poverty is a very strong one, and it is a very negative one.” In this article from the World Bank, Bourguignon explains that even in the developing countries that do possess some form of education, the “kids do not know very much and have not mastered really what they should have learned in primary school.” Due to the poor quality of this education, resources are sometimes wasted. Bourguignon suggests that the quality in education be uniform; this would positively impact poverty levels worldwide.

Bourguignon, François. “The correlation between education and poverty . . .” The World Bank: “Speak Out” Series. 3 November 2009.

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