The International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity, a global multilateral initiative, presented a four-stage plan to greatly expand access to education at all levels, for the attention of leaders attending the 71st UN General Assembly (UNGA) in New York.
18 September 2016: The International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity, a global multilateral initiative, presented a four-stage plan to greatly expand access to education at all levels, for the attention of leaders attending the 71st UN General Assembly (UNGA) in New York.
The Education Commission, as it is known, was established in July 2015 at the Oslo Summit on Education and Development. Co-convenors of the Education Commission are: Erna Solberg, Prime Minister of Norway; Arthur Peter Mutharika, President of Malawi; Joko Widodo, President of Indonesia; Michelle Bachelet, President of Chile; and UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Director-General Irina Bokova. Gordon Brown, UN Special Envoy for Education, chairs the Commission.
The Commission’s report, titled ‘The Learning Generation: Investing in Education for a Changing World,’ notes the high level of unmet need for education, with more than 250 million children globally not attending school, and another 330 million not achieving basic learning outcomes. Despite the level of need, the share of education in total aid fell from 13% in 2002 to 10% at present, while the share of infrastructure increased from 24 to 31%.
The Commission’s four-stage plan, if implemented, would be the world’s largest expansion of education ever, the Commission reports. The four stages would: adopt the reforms of countries that have been the fastest to improve education quality and opportunities; lift education spending in low-income countries from 3% to 5% of national income; mobilize education financing from international institutions; and make a “Financing Compact” between developing countries, donors and multilateral institutions to provide aid funding of US$35 a year per child by 2030.
Speaking at the report launch in New York, US, on 18 September 2016, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon recalled that in the global survey conducted in the lead-up to the creation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), five million out of the seven million respondents had placed education as their top priority. He emphasized the importance of quality education and lifelong learning, and highlighted the role of education in countering violent extremism. He noted that, based on current trends, the world will be half a century too late to achieve SDG 4, which seeks to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.
Among other recommendations, the Education Commission calls for establishing a multilateral development bank (MDB) investment mechanism for education, estimating that such a mechanism could potentially mobilize US$20 billion a year for education purposes by 2030, up from US$3.5 billion today. [UN Press Release] [Remarks of UN Secretary-General] [Publication: The Learning Generation: Investing in Education for a Changing World] [Education Commission Website]