Education NGOs meeting in Cambodia and warns about the need of SDG-4 perspective in public policies

Education NGOs meeting in Cambodia and warns about the need of SDG-4 perspective in public policies

  • Posted: Jun 06, 2017 -
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Representatives from numerous national, regional and international non-governmental and civil society organizations and members of the 2030 Education Collective Consultation of Non-Governmental Organizations (CCNGO) from different parts of the world met in Siem Reap, Cambodia, from May 8-9th, 2017. 

The main goal of the meetings was to take stock and discuss the progress made in achieving SDG4-Education 2030 from the adoption and formulation of recommendationsIt analyzed the initiatives undertaken, the main challenges faced, the opportunities identified and ways to move forward. It also discussed the support that CSOs should provide to SDG4 at the national, regional and global levels, as well as the contributions of the CCNGO in this regard.


Challenges and Opportunities

The statement issued following the meeting indicates that the challenges to education have been exacerbated by external factors in the social and political environment, in particular, by conflicts, war, violence, fundamentalism and insecurity affecting citizens in such situations. “As far as policies are concerned, they either do not yet exist or are not based on the SDG4-Education 2030 perspective and even, in some cases, diverge from it.” With regard to funding, they noted that both national and official development assistance for education had declined.

Another of the major challenges identified during the meeting is the increased privatization and commercialization of education, and the risk of undermining free and public quality education, aggravating inequalities. They consider that there is still a shortage of trained teachers, compounded by insufficient initial and continuing training and poor working conditions.


In addition to identifying the various risks involved in achieving quality, free, inclusive and equitable education, the organizations acknowledged that it is the responsibility of governments to ensure its provision and offer a number of recommendations to do so. The representatives urged those who have not yet done so to formally establish legal frameworks on the right to education.

“We call for intensified efforts to meet the agreed commitments to allocate between 4% and 6% of GDP and/or between 15% and 20% of public spending on education, bearing in mind that more and more resources are needed. Resources for education must be maintained and increased as necessary, even in crisis situations, while respecting the standards of equity and quality.”

In their statement, they strongly recommended that donor countries reverse the decrease in aid and meet the target of allocating 0.7 percent of gross national income to official development assistance to developing countries and 0.15 per cent and 0.2 per cent for least developed countries.

They encouraged Governments to intensify their efforts towards inclusive education, in particular by focusing on gender equality, disability, migrants and refugees, and respect for diversity. They should also remedy the shortage of teachers through the training and recruitment of qualified teachers, and ensure their permanent professional training.


About the Collective Consultation

The Collective Consultation of Non-Governmental Organizations on Education for All (CCNGO/EFA) is UNESCO’s essential mechanism for dialogue, reflection and collaboration with NGOs in the field of education. Since its inception in 1998, the scope of CCNGO/EFA has been changed to become an international network of more than 300 national, regional and international NGOs members of the CCNGO/EFA. The network remains an essential mechanism and a platform that allows civil society organizations to contribute to the collective commitment by 2030 with the aim of ensuring inclusive quality education and lifelong learning opportunities for all.

May 25th: education numbers to share on Africa Day

May 25th: education numbers to share on Africa Day

  • Posted: May 25, 2017 -
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May 25th is Africa Day, and we have recopilado some data about the state of the education in the continent. The sub-Saharan region has the highest percentage of non-schooled children: 52% (31 million) don’t go to school. Only 69% reach the last year of primary school, a number that points out the contrast with other world regions, in which at least 90% of scholars end primary school.

“52% of children in scholar age don’t receive an education”

Education is not compulsory in all the countries; on the contrary. In some countries as Botswana, Burundi, Ivory Coast, Eritrea, Gambia, Malawi, Somalia and Zambia an educational law that obliges children to go to school daily doesn’t exist. Kenya is the only country where the school is compulsory until the age of 18. In other countries, secondary education is considered a choice.

In this region, another major problem is the lack of teacher training. Less than three-quarters of primary school teachers are educated, while half of secondary educators have had a tertiary education. In 2014, only 8% of the sub-Saharan population began university studies, a figure that is far from the second region with the lowest percentage of university students, South Asia, with 23%.

The right to quality education for everyone still remains to be one of the great challenges of a continent that is full of diversity and complexity and uneven development levels. Today, Africa Day turns out to be a right opportunity to defend the political actions needed to make the right to quality education a real inalienable right for all people.

BRIEFING | Educational network Fe y Alegría says enough to violence

BRIEFING | Educational network Fe y Alegría says enough to violence

  • Posted: May 24, 2017 -
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In light of the latest shifts of violence and oppression and seen how this circumstance negatively affect the fulfilment of the right to education, we share Fe y Alegría Venezuela by the hand of its General Director, Manuel Aristorena.

“Venezuela has been filled with pain, suffering, anguish, violence, fear, repression and death. Yes, a lot of death, and with cruelty.

Every society experiences struggles and conflicts. And it is the manner in which these conflicts are confronted where a country’s democracy is evidenced or denied. The excessive use of force, the characterization of demonstrations as armed insurrection and not seeing in them the fair indignation of the people, the appropriation of ordinary and civil justice by military tribunals, daily violence and death, the vandalism of public or private property and the cruel treatment of detainees are unacceptable for a democratic society. We are losing lives, democracy, the country.

The solution does not involve facing one another until we defeat the adversary. That’s enough. Let’s leave behind intolerance and those who are intolerant. We need to recover democratic institutionality and the validity of Human Rights. We need to rebuild our democracy so that it promotes hope and life, with institutions that serve all Venezuelans, without discrimination or disqualification.

We have made Pope Francis’s words our own:

“Dramatic news continues to reach us regarding the situation in Venezuela and the worsening of clashes there, with many people reported dead, injured and detained. I share in the pain of the families, to whom I ensure my prayers of intercession, and I appeal to the government and all the members of Venezuelan society to avoid any further forms of violence, to respect human rights and to negotiate solutions to the serious humanitarian, social, political and economic crisis that is exhausting the population. Let us entrust to the Most Holy Virgin Mary a prayer intention for peace, reconciliation and democracy in that dear country”.

Like Pope Francis, we say to all members of society, and especially to the Government: no more violence. No more killed and wounded. No more infusing fear. No more families cornered by tear gas, shotguns and bullets. No more obstacles to the freedom of movement and demonstrations. No more night raids. No more destruction of public and private goods. We reject violence, wherever it comes from.

– Rectors of the National Electoral Council: Follow through with your responsibilities. You can open ways to solutions. Prove that you are an autonomous power. Recognise that a great part of what is happening is because you have not fulfilled your obligations. Be aware that part of this problem is related to the suspension of last year’s consultative referendum.

– Members of the Bolivarian Armed Forces of Venezuela. You vowed to enforce the Constitution and protect the population. You know and suffer this situation. You were not formed to repress the Venezuelan people or to live at war with your brothers and sisters, neighbors and fellow citizens. You are called to think and act strategically. Look beyond individual interests, emotions and reactions to the confrontation. What kind of country do you want for your children and grandchildren? In front of God, your conscience, and the love for your families, ask yourselves: Is it worth what we’re doing?

– Executive power, govern for all of us equally, respect the separation of powers, fight corruption, overcome oil dependence to be an autonomous country, capable of producing food, medicines and services this country deserves and needs. Work hard so that the population can walk safely through the streets and end armed civil groups.

– Attorney General of the Republic, keep being vigilant of the validity of the laws and the Constitution, and sanction whoever violates, breaks or attempts to break constitutionality.

– Members of the opposition, your leadership will be measured by the intelligent movement of the popular mobilizations, overcoming violence in all its demonstrations. You are called to be leaders of the non-violent opposition that can shape the behavior of those who mobilize. The strategy is not violent confrontation. It is about gathering and gaining the support of the largest number of people and social sectors. Be experts in dialogue and negotiation.

Venezuelan society, we need to foster hope, to be firm in our democratic commitment, to positively administer indignation and rage which overcomes the temptation to promote division, hate and revenge.

Let’s act promptly, before anarchy makes us uncontrollable.”

Manuel Aristorena, General Director, Fe y Alegría Venezuela. Caracas, May 20th, 2017

Stand Up For Education: Time to Deliver! GAWE 23-29 April 2017 around the globe

Stand Up For Education: Time to Deliver! GAWE 23-29 April 2017 around the globe

  • Posted: May 24, 2017 -
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Global Action Week for Education in 2017 has placed its focus on ensuring accountability for SDG4, and active citizen participation. In 2015, citizens campaigned successfully for governments to commit to a Sustainable Development Goal which ensured that everyone has the right to quality education – education which should be public, equitable, inclusive and free. Two years later, it is time for governments to prove they are working towards this goal – it is time to deliver.

While there are challenges to the realisation of this right, from long-term conflict to national elections and policy changes, commitments to the Sustainable Development Goals, and to the Education 2030 agenda are long term and cannot be ignored.  

At the same time, citizens must be given a voice in any decision-making process which impacts on their lives. Yet in too many countries the voice of citizens is being stifled; across all regions of the world, certain national governments have taken more aggressive action to limit civil society activity, from restrictions on funding, ‘political activity’ or protest, to direct criminalisation of civil society activity.

Education underpins many of the SDGs, and it is fundamental to the realisation of other rights. Governments must deliver on this goal, and citizens must be able to play their part in holding them to account for it. The cost of not delivering education is too high to bear.

Around the World: A Snapshot of Activity from GCE Members

Throughout the world, Global Campaign for Education members carried out different activities in Global Action Week: this is a brief summary of some of them.

In Afghanistan, the Global Education Campaign’s Afghan coalition organized its “Education for All” campaign for Global Action Week for Education 2017. It took place between 6-11 May for security reasons. Around 60 organizations showed interest in being part of this campaign. On Sunday 29 April, the Afghan government held a conference on SDGs.

In India there were activities aimed at public mobilization and social commitment. India is struggling to make a number of changes at a national level in educational policy, including the abolition of child labor and increased aid to children in the most marginalized areas.


In Bolivia, the Global Action Week for Education included the presentation of the results of a study on the state of public education in the country, with emphasis on funding; A discussion on SDG4 and its implementation in Bolivia and meetings with education authorities to present studies on the Bolivian situation of education.

The Dominican Republic supported the global call with the motto “We defend quality, inclusive, equitable and participative education” through various mobilization actions with the objective of sensitizing Dominican society about ODS, specifically in education. The activities included an Implementation Workshop and the publication of the Social Guide on Education Policies, a seminar on Progress and Challenges in the implementation of the Education Agenda 2030, a newsletter dedicated to ODS and several round tables, debates and Reflections on different aspects of the education agenda.


In Burkina Faso, the National Coalition of Education for All created a new document reviewing the financing of national education, citizen participation and the empowerment of civil society in the development, implementation and monitoring of education policies. Meetings were held with ministers responsible for education, the Minister of Economy, the President of the National Assembly and the Prime Minister. In terms of public events and activities, several political leaders “returned to school” in their local areas. A national civil society forum for education was organized, and the coalition has also created a documentary on the theme of the Global Action Week for Education 2017.

In Gambia, in addition to striving for transparency and accountability mechanisms, specifically to involve women, people with disabilities and other marginalized groups, the Education for All Network included funding demands in its Global Action Week for Education.


In Albania, on 23 April, the Albanian coalition for Early Childhood Education launched Global Action Week at the Center for Openness and Dialogue in Tirana. It also circulated a manifesto for education, “We Stand Up for Education,” identifying priorities in local and national education that were sent to political parties. An open forum was held in Kruja Major, north central Albania, under the title “Increasing the funding of education at a local level”. There were other open forums on “Education 2030” in 8 regions of the country. A public consultation was organized with the participation of social organizations and the education minister on “Education budget, challenges and priorities”, and a public resolution that was sent to the media enhancing the government’s commitment to the SDG4.

In Spain, the Global Action Week focused on the issue of responsibility from the perspective of citizen participation. An event was held with Parliament to generate visibility. The campaign was developed under the slogan “A word for education”.

These are just some of the examples. Cape Verde focused its activities on inclusive education, through seminars and street theater performances, while Brazil emphasized more on the Sustainable Development Goals, as Cameroon did . Countries like Nigeria opted for a protest over the education situation before the National Assembly.

GCE’s Global Campaign Week for Education: active citizen participation and achievement of the Education 2030 Agenda

GCE’s Global Campaign Week for Education: active citizen participation and achievement of the Education 2030 Agenda

  • Posted: Apr 25, 2017 -
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The Global Action Week for Education (GAWE) is an international mobilization initiative coordinated by Global Campaign for Education (GCE). This year it will take place between the 23rd and 29th April, and everyone will “Stand up for education” because it is “time to deliver” – the premises for this year’s campaign. The objective is to make sure governments commit to the implementation of the Education Agenda 2030.  Political advocacy and social mobilization activities will take place at more than 100 countries worldwide, under the premise of active citizen participation, throughout the supervision and implementation of these commitments.

It will focus on reminding the States and the citizens that a democratic government is the key of the Sustainable Development Goals. GAWE 2017 therefore wants to show the need of realistic planning to achieve a public, free, quality, inclusive and equitable education by 2030. We want the governments and the international community to reaffirm and to commit to follow the Education Agenda 2030 by granting clear means to achieve it and by taking into account an active citizen participation.

During GAWE 2017, the challenges for the global achievement of the Sustainable Development Goal 4, which refers to Education, will also be commented, along with different subjects, such as what quality education means, the weakening of the States’ role to guarantee the right to a public and free education, and the reduction of mechanisms for citizen participation in different countries, which include restrictions on social protest or even its criminalization.

In this context, we call on governments to:

  • ensure mechanisms for an active and efficient citizen participation in the Education Agenda 2030, in terms of legislation, planning, accountability and supervision;
  • prioritize and ensure the participation of education workers unions and social organizations in these mechanisms, specially organizations of historically marginalized people, such as students, women, disabled people, natives and Afro-Americans;
  • eliminate and reject the policies and legislations that repress and criminalize social protest and the work of the people who defend human rights and/or who are part from the educational community.
  • Fund and ensure implementation mechanisms in order to achieve the Education Agenda 2030, according to their commitment to strengthen the public educational systems.

We will share more information about the main messages, the objectives and the agenda of GAWE 2017. Please visit GAWE 2017 international website.

UNESCO Mobile Learning Week: technology to promote the right to education for displaced people

UNESCO Mobile Learning Week: technology to promote the right to education for displaced people

  • Posted: Mar 24, 2017 -
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The Mobile Learning Week is currently taking place during this week in Paris, France. It is an event co-organized by UNESCO and UNCHR to examine how new and affordable technologies can promote the right to education in emergency and crisis contexts, and expand learning opportunities and inclusion for displaced people.

The theme of this year’s flagship UNESCO event about the intersection of technology and education will be ‘Education in Emergencies and Crises’. From 20 to 24 March, Mobile Learning Week is bringing together experts, practitioners, ministers of education and ministers of ICT to examine ways to maximize the use of cheap and widely available mobile technologies for the education of refugees and other displaced persons.

Mobile Learning Week 2017 is featuring a symposium with over 70 breakout sessions, exhibitions, and a mix of panel discussions and plenary addresses focusing on the educational needs of displaced persons, whose unprecedented numbers exceeded 65 million in 2015, when an average of 24 people were displaced every single minute.

Fifty-one percent of refugees are children and most of them live in developing countries where many schools are already struggling to educate students in the local community. Even in wealthy countries, an influx of new learners presents considerable logistical, pedagogical and political challenges.

Recognizing the fact that mobile devices are among the few possessions taken by people forced to leave their homes, and that mobile technology can also open doors to education and empowerment, Mobile Learning Week will examine ways to support learners, teachers and systems.

In crafting the programme of this event UNESCO and its partners are seeking to strengthen inclusion in education, preserve the continuity of learning in conflict and disaster contexts, open and enrich learning opportunities for refugees and other displaced people, facilitate the integration of learners in new schools and communities, and serve as a catalyst for innovation in the education sector and improve the impact of humanitarian interventions.

Some of the opportunities that inclusive digital solutions can bring to migrants and refugees are vital communication and information sharing, access to learning, making payments and receiving financial support, and getting health information and psychosocial support. However, the lack of literacy skills constrains refugee communities. Along with cost, low literacy levels comprise the second-biggest barrier to connectivity for refugees (UNHCR, 2016).

Today, approximately 758 million adults, including 115 million youth worldwide, cannot read or write which results in a severe lack of skills needed to benefit from digital technologies.

You can learn more about the right to education for refugees and displaced persons through the teaching contents of the GIAN campaign “Right to education, right to hope” clicking here.

SJ Education networks of Guatemala lift their voices towards the victims of Hogar Asunción

SJ Education networks of Guatemala lift their voices towards the victims of Hogar Asunción

  • Posted: Mar 17, 2017 -
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Last Wednesday, March 8th, a fire broke out at the Virgen de la Asunción shelter in southern Guatemala, which resulted in 37 girls and teenagers killed and almost twenty hospitalized. According to early indications, they themselves ignited the fire to protest the human rights violations they were suffering.

This government-run children’s house, in the hands of the Social Welfare Secretariat of the Office of the President, is home to kids and teenagers and accepts abandoned, abused, and sexually exploited children as well as teenagers that have suffer from sexual and labor exploitation.

In the face of tragedy, the educational works of the Society of Jesus and other allied organizations representing thousands of Guatemalan girls, boys, adolescents and young people have issued a statement in which they express their sadness and indignation at the facts:

“1. We express our deep sympathy and solidarity with the families of the teenagers and young people who died in this unfortunate event and those affected who are in serious conditions in the national hospitals. We pray to God our Lord to give you comfort and strength.

2. We repudiate the unworthy conditions under which this unfortunate event occurred as a result of the omission, inefficiency and irresponsibility of the authorities of the institutions that have been incapable of guaranteeing the life and protection of children, teenagers and young people who are welcomed in the government-run center, violating their rights and damaging their dignity as human beings.

3. We call on the State of Guatemala that this fact does not go unpunished, we request the immediate dismissal and prosecution of the related authorities and the corresponding investigations to be taken so the criminal responsibility of those who are implicated in this fact that has left many Guatemalan families grief-stricken can be deduce. We also demand criminal prosecution to be carried out in cases of mistreatment and rape reported prior to this tragedy.

4. The State of Guatemala must be a guarantor of life, well being and protection of children, teenagers, youth and the family, so we call upon the authorities to ensure that public policies respect and are adapted to the legal national and international framework, in order to strengthen the human being and his rights.

5. We invite all civil society to be vigilant and committed to situations that threaten human life, and especially the most vulnerable.”

EJEGUA (Jesuit education in Guatemala) is formed by Fe y Alegría Educational Foundation, the Guatemalan Institute of Radiophonic Education -IGER-, Belize Bridge Education Project, Rafael Landívar University, Javier Lyceum, Santa Teresita College, San Francisco Javier-URL Network, Rodolfo Robles College .

Last Friday, March 10th, Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales appeared and said that the center will be temporarily closed down since experts say it is not suitable. A lot of children are being deinstitutionalized, a process that began last year when small children were sent back to their biological or foster homes to reduce overpopulation.

The household, in the hands of the Social Welfare Secretariat, was home to about 748 minors, although its capacity was just 400, and within it lived orphans, conflictive minors, children victims of violence, children with disabilities and others who supposedly had been interned for committing crimes.

Girls’ and Women’ Right to Education

Girls’ and Women’ Right to Education

  • Posted: Mar 08, 2017 -
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Gender inequality has been present thoughtout history, and it continues to be a major barrier to human development today. Since 1990, girls and women have taken major steps, but they have not yet achieved the expected gender equity. Too often, women and girls are discriminated against in health, education, political representation, labor market, and so on. The Gender Inequality Index (GII) is used to measure gender inequalities in three important aspects of human development:

  • reproductive health, measured by maternal mortality ratio and adolescent birth rates;
  • empowerment, measured by proportion of parliamentary seats occupied by females and proportion of adult females and males over 25 years of age with at least some secondary education;
  • economic status, measured by labor force participation rate of female and male populations aged over 15 years of age.

Nevertheless, in this post we will focus on the importance of an equal education for both genders, as well as on learning about the differences not only between “Gender parity” and “Gender equality”, but also between “schooling” and “education”.

According to the World Atlas of Gender Equality in Education, participants of the World Conference on Education for All in 1990, and of subsequent international assemblies, embraced an ambitious vision of a world in which “all children would have access to an education that would enable them to realize their highest potential as individuals, parents, citizens and workers”.  In discussing education and gender it is important to distinguish between “gender parity” and “gender equality”. Gender parity intends to achieve equal participation for girls and boys in education, but this does not mean that the education they have access to is one of quality. As we have seen in many occasions, schooling targets alone won´t reach learning objectives. As said by the CGD Policy Paper 104 February 2017, in Uganda, 45 percent of 12 year olds that are in grade 6, were still functionally illiterate.

Furthermore, in Nigeria, approximately 80 percent of people aged between 15 to 24 years of age, who left school after completing five to six years, are unable to read a full sentence. On the other hand , gender equality is understood more broadly, not only as the right to gain access and participate in education, but to achieve benefits from gender-sensitive educational environments and to obtain meaningful education outcomes that ensure that  the benefits of education translate into greater participation in social, economic and political development of their societies.


Many of the educational global statements about global goals have conflated “schooling” and “education” by treating them as synonymous or equating them by definition, so that someone who attended school was by definition, educated. Nonetheless, this statement is false, as in many countries around the world, even though many factors have contributed to the increase in women´s participation in education, statistics proved that this education won’t translate into greater participation in their social, economic and political environment, as many of the students  get out of school without knowing how to read.

It is true that the situation has improved in the recent years; whereas enrolments have been increasing since 1970 for both sexes, girls’ enrolment has been rising faster at both primary and secondary levels. Moreover, today women that enroll in higher levels of the educational system are less likely than men to drop out of school, and they exceed men in grades. Nevertheless, despite the progress achieved in recent years, girls continue to suffer severe disadvantage and exclusion in education systems throughout their lives. An estimated 31 million girls of primary school age and 32 million girls of lower secondary school age were out of school in 2013. Sub-Saharan Africa has the lowest proportion of countries with gender parity: only two out of 35 countries. South and West Asia has the widest gender gap in its out-of-school population – 80 percent of its out-of-school girls are unlikely to ever start school compared to 16 percent of its out-of-school boys. Furthermore, a better education often does not translate into better employment opportunities. Even though women outperform men in education, they still face significant discrimination in the labor market and end up in jobs where they don’t use any of their skills.

The lack of gender parity and gender equality is an issue all around the world, as almost all countries face gender disparities of some kind, although the challenges vary widely between different regions, and even at different levels within a country. Consequently, we can affirm that gender disparities and inequalities are prevalent within schooling process in both rich and poor countries. For this reason, women empowerment should be a worldwide priority. Girls’ and women’ education is both an intrinsic right and a latter to help them reach other development objectives. Providing girls and women with a quality education helps break the cycle of poverty: educated women are less likely to get married early and against their will; less likely to die in childbirth; more likely to have healthy babies; and are more likely to send their children to school. Therefore, even though education may not be the only input into women´s empowerment, it is a central one.



NEW UNESCO REPORT | Education for people and planet

NEW UNESCO REPORT | Education for people and planet

  • Posted: Feb 16, 2017 -
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Education has a key role to play in moving towards environmentally sustainable and inclusive economic growth.

The new Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report by UNESCO, displays the importance education has to push the progress needed in order to achieve all global goals outlined in the new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (SDGs). It also shows that education needs a major transformation with the intention of meeting the current challenges humanity and the planet are facing. Education has the power of transforming lives and it is at the heart of UNESCO’s mission to build peace, eradicate poverty and drive sustainable development.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development unites global development goals in one framework. However once again, the fourth global goal on education (SDG4) plays a key role in moving towards environmentally sustainable and inclusive economic growth. The SDG 4 and its 10 targets advance a model where learning, in all its shapes and forms, has the power to influence people’s choices to create more just, peaceful, inclusive and sustainable societies. One of the main characteristics of education is not only that it is a fundamental human right, but an enabling right, as it facilitates other human  rights.

What kind of education is necessary

Education and lifelong learning processes are needed to make production and consumption sustainable. Moreover, these two key elements can support the SDGs with at least two approaches; the first scenario focuses on literacy acquisition and retention or on specific knowledge to generate behavioral change, as it is proved that education can facilitate changes in values, world views and behavior at the level of the individual, the community and society as a whole. The second approach focuses on the idea that education can facilitate reflective or critical learning, knowledge and skills acquisition, and greater agency to address complex sustainability issues.

In order to obtain a cleaner and greener planet; integrative, innovative and creative thinking is required, and according to UNESCO, it should be cultivated jointly by schools, universities, governments, civil society organizations and companies. Furthermore, creating green industries relies on high-skill workers with specific training; therefore, the sooner this training arrives the better and faster we will achieve our goals. Regarding the greening of industries that already exist, continuing training and education for low- and medium-skill workers, often on the job will be required, so that workers can learn how they can change their working techniques towards a sustainable method.

Furthermore, education can help to create a more sustainable food production process. Nowadays agriculture urgently needs to be transformed to meet environmental and global needs, as today agriculture contributes one-third of all greenhouse gas emissions. In order to do so, governments must focus on improving primary and secondary education, as it can give future farmers the foundation skills that will be required as well as critical knowledge about sustainability challenges in agriculture, increase land efficiency management and reduce food waste. Moreover, it is proved that literacy and non-formal education in the form of extension programs can increase farmer productivity.

Another reason that explains why education is a key element when talking about progress and positive changes around the world is because, as said by the latest UNESCO Education Report, education is directly linked with economic growth. The knowledge and skills workers acquire through education and training make them more productive. Nonetheless, education must keep up with the changing face of work and produce more high-skill workers; therefore, a quality education system must be assured.

According to the 2016 Global Education Monitoring Report, if only 10% of the EU member states meet by 2020 the targets of decreasing early school-leaving and increase tertiary participation, they could reduce the numbers of those at risk of poverty by 3.7 million. Consequently, we can affirm that education reduces poverty and helps close wage gaps. Furthermore, education helps people find work: In South Africa, less than 45% of those with less than upper secondary education were employed in 2005 compared to roughly 60% who completed upper secondary. Therefore, UNESCO has highlighted that secondary and tertiary education is far more effective than just primary for helping people access decent work and earnings.

In order to create a green and inclusive world, with sustainable models of production and consumption, many elements need to change and improve worldwide; therefore, it is hard to know precisely how the situation in going to vary in the next couple of years. Nevertheless, there is no doubt that education will play a critical role in helping to achieve the 2030 goals and in supporting the transition to a new model of sustainable development.

3 Jesuit organisations analyse and advocate for education cooperation for development funds

3 Jesuit organisations analyse and advocate for education cooperation for development funds

  • Posted: Feb 08, 2017 -
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2016 has meant the beginning of a new period in the international development agenda. The implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals draws up a route to determine the cooperation policies for the next 15 years. Therefore, we are in a crucial period where the national ODA policies must be adjusted to the new international agenda and aware of new objectives that also mean engagement for our country – even those that referred to education. In order to advocate for the right funding to be allocated to assist the International Cooperation for education, three Jesuit organisations, two NGOs and a Studies Fundation, have examined the Spanish Official Development Assistance for over thirteen years now.

The report, La Ayuda en Educación a Examen”, (Aid on Education to Test) checks what has been done in Spain in terms of international cooperation, especially of educational cooperation in the last 15 years, and also calls for place the education in the centre of all the national and international policies, because  the official development assistance in Spain has plummet down so dramatically to small percentages seen 30 years ago. According to Ana Hernández, researcher in ETEA Foundation for Development and Cooperation, “between 2008 and 2015 the Spanish net aid suffered a decline of more than 65%, dropping from EUR 4 762 million to EUR 1 627 million. These numbers means only the 0,13% of the Gross National Income (GNI), what places the Spanish cooperation very far of the rest of donor countries and the proposed target of 0,7%, endorsed by Spain in various agreements and international commitments. In other words, Spain has falling from the peak of the 6th position among the most supplier countries to the 22nd position”.

The reductions aforesaid, has seriously affected the Spanish cooperation in the education sector, which has been reduced to more than 90% in the same period. In 2008, the Spanish assistance to education amounted 5,6% for the countries of the Development Assistance Committee (DAC), and it was the equivalent to only the 0,6% in 2014. The situation of the commitment with the basic education is similar. The funds set aside for the basic education has been reduced between 2008 and 2011 in an 81% continue decreasing the following years. In 2015 the assistance meant less than EUR 5 million, what represented only 0,7% of the bilateral aid, instead of the aid committed of 8% for the Spanish Official Development Assistance . Taking a stand for basic education is not still a priority, neither in the international agenda. According to the UNESCO, the financing gap in terms of education at international scale is estimated at USD 22 million for a quality basic education in 2030, and it would raise to USD 39 000 million if the globalization of the secondary education is required, according to the SDG number 4.

In this context, and according to Ramón Almansa, chief executive of Entreculturas (Jesuit Spanish NGO), “education cannot be confined to a specific objective, but is the way that we have to follow for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals”. Education is an incomparable agent of social changes, it allows the achievement of other rights, and it facilitates the poverty reduction, the social inclusion or the improvement of professional opportunities, among other benefits. María del Mar Magallón, director of ALBOAN (Jesuit NGO) and moderator in the presentation of the report, also affirms “we won’t achieve the Sustainable Development Goals without the fulfillment of other educative objectives”. Development and Educational Cooperation are an inseparable binomial, as it is resumed in the video attached to the report (in Spanish).

In the same way, Ramón Almansa (Spanish NGO- Entreculturas) pointed out that “we won’t change the world if we don’t understand the education as the motor of change, of social transformation or as the instrument to construct values and abilities and as a key element to strengthen more equal, peaceful and democratic societies”. Besides, he also suggested some of the recommendations collected in the document “10 conclusiones y 20 recomendaciones para la cooperación española en educación” with the purpose of making some proposals for the construction of a more solid, coherent and effective Spanish cooperation policy. “We consider necessary the promotion of a speech supporting the main role played by the education, through the decisions-makers, in the development agenda and fulfill the economic commitments and the guidelines laid down in Education for All Iniative and the Framework of Action of the World Education Forum.”


“Recovering the investment of the Spanish Cooperation is indispensible, by prioritizing the aid to education as a key sector and also by increasing the funds for the basic education to the 8% of the Official Development Assistance. In the same way, it is necessary to promote a wide concept of educational quality linked to equality, inclusion and participation of the different agents, as well as a proper system of indicators. The Spanish Cooperation must detect and assist the most vulnerable populations and the homogeneity of countries and realities.”

Javier Gavilanes, head of the Sectorial Cooperation Department of the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID in Spanish), has participated in this event. The SAIDC faced the challenges of the cooperation in terms of education based on three main lines: the promotion of a quality education, the assistance to the most vulnerable and affected people by difficult and particular circumstances and the encouragement of alliances with other actors for the achievement of the fourth Sustainable Development Goal.

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