UNESCO Launches Global Monitoring Report in Addis Ababa as Ethiopia becomes a champion for the Global Education First Initiative

UNESCO/ Eduardo Martino - Local knowledge: In this school in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, a teacher uses a corn cake recipe traditional to the area to explain quantities in a mathematics class

The 11th Education for All Global Monitoring Report was released this morning at UNECA Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, by the Deputy Prime Minister of Ethiopia Demeke Mekonnen.

“It’s possible to increase access to and quality of education at the same time,” the Deputy Prime Minister stressed, while reiterating the Nation’s pride at becoming a Champion for the Global Education First Initiative; “we know which road to take so let’s take it together for the sake of this generation and the generations to come.”

This year’s Report, Teaching and learning: Achieving quality for all, warns that without attracting and adequately training enough teachers the learning crisis will last for several generations and hit the disadvantaged hardest while costing governments 129 billion USD a year.  Ten per cent of global spending on primary education is being lost on poor quality education that is failing to ensure that children learn. This situation leaves one in four young people in poor countries unable to read a single sentence.  The Report concludes that good teachers are the key to improvement and calls on governments to provide the best in the profession to those who need them most.

Following the official launch of the report, Getachew Engida, Deputy Director General of UNESCO, highlighted the fact that girls and women are the hardest hit in the current education crisis and in this regard, fundamental education must be understood as a human right and not a luxury.  Pauline Rose, Director of the Education for All Global Monitoring report, underlined that the fact that the global Launch is occurring in Ethiopia is particularly appropriate due to the Country’s transformation in the Education Sector.

Mariam Khalique, former teacher of Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai, and Esnart Chapomba, Teacher Educator in Malawi, added their important voices to the GMR launch and talked about their daily challenges as teachers in rural areas and their belief in quality education as a path to liberation; “a teacher is like an architect that builds the soul” Khalique stressed.

In addition to the representative of President Boni Yayi of Benin, Amina Mohammed, Special Advisor of the UN Secretary General on Post-2015 Development planning, underlined that the world people want has education in it; “we have to be ready to affirm education as a human right and not charity,” Mohammed emphasized; “it’s about leadership at all levels from business to the homes.”  The main challenge, Mohammed underlined, is the need to move from rhetoric to the reality at scale; “put people and planet at the center so we can do justice to future generations.”

In closing, and capturing the spirit of the GMR launch, Chernor Bah, youth representative on the high level steering committee for the Global Education First Initiative and Chair of the Youth Advocacy Group,  evoked the belief that “a person never stands as tall as when they kneel down to help a child: imagine how tall we can be.”

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