The goal was to get universal secondary education by 2030, but a report by UNESCO, the UN’s education, sciences, and cultural agency, shows that universal upper secondary education likely won’t happen until 2084.
James Richards, writing for Public Finance International, notes that poor countries are most affected. While India is poised to meet the goals by 2085 countries like Niger and Rwanda aren’t on track to meet them until 2100.
Irina Bokova, Director-General for UNESCO, said “A fundamental change is needed in the way we think about education’s role in global development, because it has a catalytic impact on the well-being of individuals and the future of our planet.”
The report published by UNESCO shows just how important meeting these education goals is — but universal education is an expensive task, writes Vikas Pota for the Telegraph. The goal is for developing world governments to devote four percent of their GDP to education:
Economist Jeffrey Sachs says, “This report should set off alarm bells around the world and lead to a historic scale-up of actions to achieve (this goal).”
The two biggest hurdles to overcome are poverty and conflict, the UNESCO report shows. These obstacles are leading to 36 million children being kept out of schools. India is having the most difficulty with out of school children, reporting that 11.1 million students don’t go to school at the lower secondary level.
The type of education that children are receiving is not preparing them for future challenges, Reuters reports. UNESCO would like to see more emphasis on teaching students about how to be global citizens and be concerned with areas outside of their immediate surroundings:
Aaron Benavot, director of the report UNESCO published, said “If we want a greener planet and sustainable futures for all, we must ask more from our education systems than just a transfer of knowledge. We need our schools and lifelong learning programs to focus on economic, environmental and social perspectives that help nurture empowered, critical, mindful and competent citizens.”
Some have criticized the education goals by saying that there should be a commitment to ensure nine years of basic education first. The report showed that nearly 263 million children are out of school globally, and in some of the worst cases have never even been to school.
The American Bazaar points to other reports on the need for education in environmental concerns. Reports say that less than half of 15-year-old students know basic information regarding environmental issues.
“Now, more than ever, education has a responsibility to be in gear with 21stcentury challenges and aspirations, and foster the right types on values and skills that will lead to sustainable and inclusive growth, and peaceful living together,” Says Bokova.