World Education Forum 2015 adopts Declaration on the Future of Global Education until 2030

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world education forum2015, Kailash Satyarthi, 2014 peace nobel award

2014 Peace Nobel Award Kailash Satyarthi during his speech on May 19

In April 2000, the participants of the World Education Forum held in Dakar, Senegal, adopted the Dakar Framework for ActionEducation for All: Meeting our Collective Commitment“. They reaffirmed the vision of the World Declaration on Education for All (EFA) adopted ten years earlier (Jomtien, Thailand, 1990) and committed to the attainment of six EFA goals, supported by 12 strategies, in order to meet the basic learning needs of all children, youth and adults by 2015. At the World Education Forum in 2000, the international community recognized the central role of civil society in the achievement of the EFA goals. Since then, civil society involvement in education has expanded considerably and strong national coalitions have emerged, alongside regional and global networks.In the light of the NGO Declaration on Education for All in Dakar, southern civil society representation in international EFA structures has been strengthened. Civil society, and notably non-governmental organizations (NGOs), are now considered a crucial EFA partner along with governments, UN agencies and the private sector.

 The two year-long broad consultive process and Muscat Agreement has informed the global education goal and its associated targets and means of implementation, as proposed by the UN General Assembly’s Open Working Group (OWG) on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Building on and continuing the EFA movement, Education 2030 takes into account the lessons learned since 2000. A key lesson of the past years is that global education agenda should work within the overall international development framework rather than alongside it, as ocurred with the separate EFA goals and education-related MDGs.

It is widely recognized that the EFA agenda and the related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), have led to significant advances for the right to education. However, major education issues persist in all countries and regions of the world, and EFA remains an “unfinished agenda”. Broad-based consultations on the post-2015 education agenda have confirmed the continued relevance and importance of EFA beyond 2015. From 19-22 May 2015, the World Education Forum has took place in Incheon, Republic of Korea, where the world education community has been discussing about the education goal and targets in the post-2015 sustainable development agenda that is expected to be adopted by the UN Member States at the Special Summit on Sustainable Development of September 2015 in New York.

It is expected that the global education agenda for the next 15 years that has been discussed at the World Education Forum 2015 (WEF 2015) set out a global roadmap for Education until 2030. The Declaration on Education 2030 agreed at the Forum will mobilize all countries and partners to implement the new agenda, and propose ways for its coordination, financing and monitoring – globally, regionally and nationally – to ensure equal educational opportunities for all.


NGO world education forum 2015

Before the open ceremony with all participants, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova and Peace Nobel Award Kailash Satyarthi have been demanding efforts to achieve global partnership to all civil society in the NGO Forum. The main objectives of the NGO Forum have been:

1.- Agree on a collective vision on post-2015 education agenda and Framework for Action and strategize on effective engagement in the WEF 2015.

2.- Share knowledge and analysis regarding the current proposals on the post-2015 development agenda and agree on how to support the finalization of the post-2015 sustainable development agenda, in particular the education goals and targets, that is expected to be adopted at the UN Special Summit on Sustainable Development in September 2015.

3.- Forge commitments and agree on strategies for civil society participation in the implementation and monitoring of the post-2015 education agenda.

The 2015 NGO Forum has finished with the Declaration “Towards the Righy to Inclusive Quality Education and Lifelong Learning Beyond 2015“.

In the Open Ceremony of the World Education Forum 2015 on May 19 there were more than 100 government ministers, along with high-level government officials, Nobel Prize Laureates, heads of international and non-governmental organizations, academics, representatives of the private sector, researchers, youth leaders, media activists, and other key stakeholders. 

UN secretary Ban Ki-moon, world education forum 2015

.UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon opened the event. “Education secures human rights, including health and employment,” he told the 1500 participants. “And education is also essential to fighting security threats, including the rise of violent extremism.”


UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova, and President of the Republic of Korea, Park Geun-hye, World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim, UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake, UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UNESCO Special Envoy for Basic and Higher Education Sheikha Moza Bint Nasser, and Laureate of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize Kailash Satyarthi, also spoke at the opening of WEF 2015. 

“The Secretary-General Global Education First Initiative has a very important approach about the culture of today. It is about global citizenship” answered Ms. Bokova to my question. “Global citizenship is also about how to live together. Global citizenship is about what values we share. Global citizenship is about cultural literacy. Global citizenship is about knowing the cultures and understanding the others.” and UNESCO Director General adds: “I do believe that culture plays an important future role in the post-2015 agenda. Culture and Education have a very strong link, so that’s why we are promoting strongly quality and inclusive education in the SDGs number 4.”

World Education Forum. 19-22 May 2015, Incheon, Republic of Korea, Global Education Magazine from Global Education Magazine

The High-level panel debate “Setting the stage” stimulated a debate on the future of education, drawing on the findings of the independent EFA Global Monitoring Report 2015, the regional analyses of some 120 National EFA 2015 Reviews and the publication “Rethinking Education: Towards a global common good?.” The presentations were done by Mr Aaron Benavot, Director at EFA Global Monitoring Report of UNESCO, who introduced Mr. Gordon Brown (UN Special Envoy on Global Education), H.E. Ms Smriti Zubin Irani (Minister of Human Resource Development in India), H. E. Mr Jaime Saavedra Chanduvi (Minister of Education in Peru), Mr James Heckman (Laureate of the 2000 Nobel Economics Prize), Ms Julia Gillard (Chair of the Board of Directors at Global Partnership for Education), and Ms Camilla Croso (President at Global Campaign for Education).

The WEF 2015 seeks to galvanize the education community around a common vision for Education 2030, leading to agreement in principle on a comprehensive Framework for Action and the adoption of a Declaration. The WEF’s outcome is fully aligned to the education goal and targets of the global development agenda to be adopted at the UN High-Level Summit in September 2015, so as to ensure a single education agenda for 2015-2030. This requires continued strong engagement and support of governments and all other education partners to ensure that the future education agenda is holistic and transformative, and that its targets are achievable and measurable.

“We have a collective responsibility to ensure education plans take into account the needs of some the most vulnerable children and youth in the world – refugees, internally displaced children, stateless children and children whose right to education has been compromised by war and insecurity. These children are the keys to a secure and sustainable future, and their education matters for us all,” said António Guterres,  UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and adds “Only one in two refugee children go to primary school, and one in four to secondary. This is a tragedy. Education is the most important thing a refugee child can carry across borders, and their brightest hope for a better future.”

In the past decade, monitoring the provision of quality education primarily meant tracking inputs into schools such as per pupil educational expenditures, number fo trained teachers, class sizes and teacher-pupil ratio, instructional time andaccess to ICT. In recent years, national, regional, international, and citizen-led assessments have become commonly-used tools to monitor basic skills acquisition and track trends in learning outcomes. Learning fosters the accomplishment of key development achievements, from health advances and agricultural innovation to private sector progression. Education is the foundation upon which countries experience growth, contributing to social, political, economic, and environmental advances, as well as underpinning peace and security. Despite recent progress in getting children in school, economic, gender, and ethnic disparities as well as factors suchs as conflict and disability, still an estimated 250 million children are unable to read and write.

Governments in the post-2015 era will face a number of challenges in their efforts to scale up equitable access to higher education while ensuring its quality and relevance. The internationalization of learning and research, and in particular student and academic mobility, requires particular attention to be paid to quality assurance and the cross-border recognition of qualifications.

Inclusive and equitable access for all firls and boys, women and men is a central goal of the proposed post-2015 development agenda which the Open Working Group placed in the context of the commitment of Rio+20 to strive for a world that is just, equitable and inclusive. With respect to education, the proposed Sustainable Development Goal 4 aims to Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all:

Reference target 4.1: By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable, and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and effective learning outcomes.

Reference target 4.2: By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys have access to quality early chidhood development, care and pre-primary education so that they are ready for primary education.

Reference target 4.3: By 2030, ensure equal access for all women and men to afforable quality technical, vocational and tertiary education, including university.

Reference target 4.4: By 2030, increase by x% the number of youth and adults who have relevant skilss, including technical and vocational skills, for employment, decent jobs and entrepreneurship.

Reference target 4.5: By 2030, eliminate gender disparities in education and ensure equal access to all levels of education and vocational training for the vulnerable, including persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples and children in vulnerable situations.

Reference target 4.6: By 2030, ensure that all youth and at least x% of adults, both men and women, achieve literacy and numeracy.

Reference target 4.7: By 2030, ensure all learners acquire knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including among other through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship, and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture´s contribution to sustainable development.

Achieving the 2030 education agenda will require much more and better investiment. Despite decades of promoting education for all, the achievement of gender equality in education remains an elusive and incomplete agenda. Gender-based discrimination and substantitive and cultural biases continue to limit oprions that girls have in education and contribute to their prmature dropout from school. 2015 marks the deadline for achieving the six Education for All (EFA) goals and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) established in 2000. The Forum took stock of progress made over the past 15 years, consider remaining and new challenges, and prepare a road map for addressing them within the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to be adopted by the United Nations in September. 

Collective efforts over the past 15 years resulted in unprecedented progress in education. According to UNESCO’s Institute for Statistics, there were 76 million fewer out-of-school children and adolescents in 2012 than in 2000. During the same period, around 67 million more children received pre-primary education and approximately 50 million more enrolled in primary school. However, the EFA agenda remains unfinished business. This year’s EFA Global Monitoring Report (GMR) shows that there are still some 57 million primary age children and 63 million adolescents out of school and about 781 million illiterate adults globally. The GMR also estimates that it will cost an additional $22 billion each year to ensure universal pre-primary, primary and lower secondary education by 2030.

World Education Forum website:

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Javier Collado Ruano

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