United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has said Tanzania was an exemplary nation in making education available to all.
The UN chief made the remarks on Sunday when launching the International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity report, titled ‘The Learning Generation: Investing in Education for a Changing World.’
The launching ceremony was held at the UN headquarters in New York and was attended by the commissioners of the Education Commission, including former President Jakaya Kikwete.
Present during the launch include the commission’s Coconvenors: Prime Minister Erna Solberg of Norway, President Arthur Peter Mutharika of Malawi and the Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), Irina Bokova.
Others were the UN Special Envoy for Education, Mr Gordon Brown, who is also the commission’s Chairperson, large investors, including CEO of the Dangote Groupe, Mr Aliko Dangote, research institutes, financial institutions, civic organisations and students.
“Experience from countries such as Tanzania, Vietnam and my own country, South Korea, shows that where there is political will, plus opportunities and financial resources something positive can be done in education,” the UN chief said.
He said the international community must provide assistance to such countries and others that have decided to bring reforms in their education systems to get desired results.
The report points out that with more than 250 million children out of school and another 330 million children failing to achieve the most basic learning outcomes, the world cannot hope to achieve the promise of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The report sets out the commission’s four-stage plan that will, among others, aim to generate the reforms and investment that will get every child on track to enter school by 2030; increase the number of qualified high school graduates in low and middle-income countries from 400 million to 850 million by 2030 and raise the numbers even further to 1.2 billion during the next decade.
The stage includes having all countries adopting the reforms of the fastest improvers, which is 25 per cent of education performers around the world. Instead of only one in 10 schools being online, all schools would go digital.
Plan Two is for every country to see education as an investment in the future and elevate spending in low-income countries — from three per cent of national income today to five per cent of national income; The third stage of the plan is to mobilise the combined resources of the international institutions.
No country committed to reforming and investing should be denied the chance to deliver universal education for lack of funds; and Stage Four calls for a ‘Financing Compact’ between developing countries, donors and multilateral institutions under which overall aid will rise to US35 dollars a year per child by 2030, significantly less than US1 dollars a week, hardly a wasteful use of the world’s resources.
The secretary general said the report makes the case for investment in education as a prerequisite for economic growth, sustainable development and global stability.
He noted that while the crisis of education is eminently solvable, if current trends continue; “we will not achieve universal primary education until 2042, and upper secondary education until 2084. We will miss SDG 4 by half a century.”
Contributing to the launching of the report as one of the Commissioners, former President Kikwete said achievement in education means that every child, including those living in difficult conditions and marginalised, especially girls, have access to education.
He said one out of 20 girls living in poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa finish primary school education while 75 million children in school going age face various dangers. The figure includes one million Syrian refugee children who are not in schools.
“The report points out a vision of providing opportunities to future generation with a focus on children refugees, street children, girls, children in labour and other groups,” former president Kikwete stressed.
The report is a culmination of a one year analysis work that involved 30 research institutions and consultations that involved more than 300 contributors from 105 countries.