Regional launch of the 2016 GEM Report in Dakar: Cooperation crucial to achieve SDG4 targets
On 15 September 2016, a meeting was held to launch the 2016 Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report in West and Central Africa. It offered the opportunity to examine educational progress in the region since the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015, as well as the possibility to look for future joint actions.
Present at the event were representatives of regional organizations, including Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA), African Network Campaign on Education for All (ANCEFA), Conseil africain et malgache pour l’enseignement supérieur (CAMES), Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA), Conférence des ministres de la jeunesse et des sports de la Francophonie (CONFEJES), Conférence des ministres de l’Education des Etats et gouvernements de la francophonie (CONFEMEN), Embassy of South Korea, Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE), Handicap International, IIEP-Pôle de Dakar, International Labour Organization (ILO), Réseau pour l’excellence de l’enseignement supérieur en Afrique de l’Ouest (REESAO), Save the Children, UNESCO, UNESCO Institute for Statistics, UNFPA, UNHCR, UNICEF, and UN Women.
Released on 6 September, the new report – entitled ‘Education for people and planet: Creating sustainable futures for all’ is the first in a new GEM series which analyses global trends in education and development aid and advocates for effective education policies and practice in the next decade and beyond. In line with the 2030 agenda, it monitors each of ten SDG4 targets, while focusing on the reciprocal links between education and other sustainable development goals. Education, it reminds us, plays a role in many aspects of development: in poverty reduction, hunger eradication, improved health, gender equality and empowerment, sustainable agriculture, fostering resilient cities, and creating more equal and inclusive societies.
This was explained by Ms. Nihan Koseleci, of the GEM Report team, during her presentation of the 2016 findings and recommendations. In Sub-Saharan Africa, it found that 31 million children are not currently in education; half of the girls who are out of school have never set foot in one (compared to 41% of boys); and only half of enrolled students complete primary education. If current trends continue, Sub-Saharan Africa is not due to achieve universal primary education until 2080 – an entire half a century behind the Education 2030 deadline. Mr. Sobhi Tawil, Chief of Section for Partnerships, Cooperation and Research at UNESCO Paris then presented concrete actions to hasten change. Countries need accurate and disaggregated data, for example, and once they have it, they must decide upon the best strategies for their own context. Ms. Ndong-Jatta, Director of the Regional UNESCO Office in Dakar, agreed that “countries have told us that they do not need us to do things for them; they need partners”.
The presentations were followed by panel discussions on two topics: firstly, the connection between education and the other SDGs in the West and Central African context; and secondly, the implications of the targets for educational policy, planning and implementation. The focus was on developing strategies for their achievement, based on participants’ current and potential activities. The debates highlighted the need to close the gaps between school and work, research and policy, and between education and local culture, among others.
Collaboration and ‘interconnectedness’ was the overall message of the event. Ms. Ndong-Jatta concluded by underlining the importance of working together – across departments, agencies and sectors – to share knowledge and develop joint activities which will accelerate Sub-Saharan Africa’s educational development. “Through communication and partnerships, she urged, we have a better chance of reaching the SDG targets”.
If you would like to know more about the 2016 GEM Report, please click here for the text and related information, videos, and social media resources. https://en.unesco.org/gem-report/report/2016/education-people-and-planet-creating-sustainable-futures-all/page
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