30.01.2014 - UNESCO Office in New Delhi

EFA Global Monitoring Report 2013/4: Teaching and Learning - Achieving Quality for All launched in New Delhi

Two thirds of children in South and West Asia are not learning the basics in reading and maths, whether they are in school or not

The National launch of the EFA Global Monitoring Report, 2013/4: Teaching and Learning: Achieving quality for all, took place at the India International Centre Annexe, 40, Maxmuller Marg, New Delhi on 29 January 2014.  The report along with the Hindi version of the Summary, was launched by Shri Manish Sisodia, Hon’ble Minister of Education, PWD, Urban Development and Revenue, Government of Delhi, Dr Amarjit Singh, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India, and Mr Shigeru Aoyagi, UNESCO Representative to India, Bhutan, Maldives and Sri Lanka and Director of UNESCO New Delhi Office in the presence of Dr S. S. Jena, Chairperson, National Institute of Open Schooling, and many other dignitaries.   At this occasion, an expert panel composed of Government officials, representatives from the education NGOs, CSOs, teacher education institutions, universities, teachers, and partners, shared their experiences on teaching and learning and interact with the media. 

The 11th Education for All Global Monitoring Report reveals that a global learning crisis is costing governments $129 billion 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, affecting one third of young women in South and West Asia (includes Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka).  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.  

Hon’ble Minister Sisodia spoke about the many challenges of the Indian education system and said “Even after 20 years of education our students are not confident of securing a job for themselves.  The country needs to change and that can happen only with more spending on classrooms and education. I think the education goals are important but more paramount are the goals of education.”   

Mr. Shigeru Aoyagi, UNESCO Representative to India, Bhutan, Maldives and Sri Lanka and Director of UNESCO New Delhi Office remarked: “The Report shows that lack of attention to education quality and a failure to reach the marginalized have contributed to a learning crisis that needs urgent attention.  Worldwide, 250 million children – many of them from disadvantaged backgrounds are not learning the basis.  As a country that has almost universalized primary education, India, like many other countries, is facing the challenge of quality and learning. The most crucial agents of quality education and learning are teachers and students. As such, this new issue of EFA GMR comes in very timely and topical within the ongoing global education debates.”

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. In South and West Asia, where about 33 in 100 children of primary school age are learning the basics in reading, the share ranges from about 90% in the Islamic Republic of Iran to less than 30% in Pakistan.  

On current trends, the Report projects that it will take until 2072 year for all the poorest young women in developing countries to be literate. The disadvantaged – girls and those in poverty – are being left behind:  In India, the richest young women have already achieved universal literacy but the poorest will only do so around 2080.  However, with the right policies in place, fast progress is possible: in Nepal, the literacy rate of the poorest young women tripled from 18% in 2001 to 54% in 2011. 

In order to improve the quality of education, between 2011 and 2015, South and West Asia needs to recruit an additional 1 million additional teachers per year to reach a ratio of 32 pupils per teacher in lower secondary education. However, teachers also need training. In a third of countries analysed by the Report, less than three-quarters of existing primary school teachers are trained to national standards.

 “Teachers have the future of this generation in their hands,” said UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova. “We need 5.2 million teachers to be recruited by 2015, and we need to work harder to support them in providing children with their right to a universal, free and quality education. We must also make sure that there is an explicit commitment to equity in new global education goals set after 2015, with indicators tracking the progress of the marginalized so that no one is left behind.” 

The Report calculates that in total, 37 countries are losing at least half the amount they spend on primary education because children are not learning. By contrast, the Report shows that ensuring an equal, quality education for all can generate huge economic rewards, increasing a country’s gross domestic product per capita by 23 per cent over 40 years.  The Report shows that to achieve good quality education for all, governments must provide enough trained teachers, and focus their teacher policies on meeting the needs of the disadvantaged. This means attracting the best candidates into teaching; giving them relevant training; deploying them within countries to areas where they are needed most; and offering them incentives to make a long-term commitment to teaching. In Sri Lanka teachers trained to develop lesson plans and grade-appropriate tasks for multi-grade classes had a positive impact on pupils’ achievement in mathematics. The Report also highlights the need to address gender-based violence in schools, a major barrier to quality and equality in education. It underscores the importance of curriculum and assessment strategies to promote inclusion and improve learning.  

The Report makes the following recommendations: 

  1. New education goals after 2015 must include an explicit commitment to equity so that every child has an equal chance of an education. New goals need clear, measurable targets with indicators that will track the progress of the most disadvantaged.  
  2. New goals after 2015 must ensure that every child is in school and learning the basics. Children do not only have the right to be in school, but also to learn while there, and to emerge with the skills they need to find secure, well-paid work.  
  3. Ensure the best teachers reach the learners who need them most. National education plans must include an explicit commitment to reaching the marginalized. Teachers should be recruited locally, or have similar backgrounds to disadvantaged learners. Every teacher needs pre and in-service training on ways to target support to disadvantaged children. Incentives must be provided to ensure the best teachers work  in remote, under-served areas. Governments must work to retain their best teachers, providing pay that meets at least their basic needs, good working conditions and a career path.


The EFA Global Monitoring Report is developed annually by an independent team and published by UNESCO.   The full report is available online at: www.efareport.unesco.org ; World Education Blog: http://efareport.wordpress.com     

For more information, please contact:

Mr Alisher Umarov, Chief of Education (a.umarov(at)unesco.org)

Ms Rekha Beri, Documentalist & Public Information (r.beri(at)unesco.org)

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