Educating children is biggest social, security challenge for world

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Commission warns of ‘ticking bomb of discontent’

nternational Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity

NEW YORK – Reforms and investment will get every child in the world on track to enter school by 2030 and increase the number of qualified high school graduates in low and middle-income countries from 403 million to 850 million – and during the next decade, raise the numbers even further to 1.2 billion. The numbers in the lowest income countries will rise from 8 million to 80 million learners.

  • Investment consortium of world’s development banks can raise multilateral bank aid from $3.5 billiontoday to $20 billion by 2030. Overall aid would be just $35 per child – less than $1 per week by 2030 – to get countries back on track for universal learning.
  • A ‘ticking time bomb of discontent’ poses a serious threat to security in the Middle East, East-Indian sub-continent and Africa if children and young people are left without skills or on the streets without a chance of education and employment.

On Sunday, the International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity (the Education Commission), a group of world leaders composed of presidents, former prime ministers, business and education leaders set out an ambitious and credible program of reform that will make us the first generation in history guaranteeing a basic education to every single child. The Education Commission has set out the first-ever budget for global education, detailing from now to 2030 the costs and benefits of delivering a universal, high-quality primary and secondary education for all. The report was presented tto the United Nations Secretary-General at the start of the 71st General Assembly.

Even in 2030 – on current trends:

  • 825 million children in low and middle income countries, half of the world’s 1.6 billion children, will not be able to secure basic secondary-level skills equipping them for the labor market
  • 228 million children will not be in school
  • 400 million will leave school without primary level qualifications

Instead of leaving behind half of today’s youth generation, the Commission sets out a plan under which the 1.3 billion children in low and middle-income countries can in the future attain at minimum the same level of basic skills achieved by children in high-income countries today.

The neglect of education is the biggest challenge countries will face over the next 15 years, the Commission reports. Lack of investment in education systems is crippling the chances of young people in the global workplace and hindering growth, making it impossible for low and middle-income countries to make the transition to high-income status. Failure to change course could result in a loss of $1.8 trillion for low-income countries alone by 2050 – losing 70% of GDP potential.

The Commission finds that the unequal distribution of opportunities fuels further discontent – eagerly exploited by extremists, especially in the Middle East and North Africa – and is a critical motivating factor for mass migration. Evidence shows that the failure to provide education for young children in conflict countries like Syriapropels migration to Europe.

The first stage of the Commission’s plan is to have all countries adopting the reforms of the fastest improvers – the 25% of education performers around the world. Instead of only one in 10 schools being online, all schools would go digital.

Stage two of the plan is for every country to see education as an investment in the future and raise spending in low-income countries from 3% of national income today to 5% of national income.

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