India: Director-General Calls for Renewed Commitment to Improve Education Quality at E-9 Meeting
“Getting education right in the E-9 countries means getting education right across the globe,” said the Director-General at the opening of the E9 Ministerial Review meeting in New Delhi on 9 November.
The E-9 network, launched in New Delhi in 1993, gathers nine high population countries that together are home to 60 percent of the world’s population, two-thirds of its adult illiterates and half the number of out-of school children.
In handing over the E-9 Chair to the Government of India, Nigeria’s Federal Minister of Education called on governments to prioritize literacy while pointing to a record of progress, including on reducing illiteracy, enacting legislation and, in some cases, increasing funding.
India’s Minister of State for Human Resource Development Dr Shashi Tharoor affirmed that India’s commitment to education cuts across social and economic strata. He drew particular attention to the enactment of the Right to Education Act in 2009 that guarantees compulsory education, noting that it represented a historic decision by the Parliament of India.
Setting the stage for the E-9 meeting that focuses on inclusive relevant quality education for all, Mrs Bokova called for renewed commitment at three levels: first, to strengthen public policies and education systems to deliver quality education; second, to develop stronger assessment tools; third, to act on pressure points where success can have a multiplying impact, like teacher training.
To help Member States take a comprehensive approach to quality improvements, UNESCO has developed a General Education Quality/Diagnostic Framework that is currently being piloted in two Indian states, as well as Nigeria.
Dr Tharoor noted that the E-9 has a crucial role to play to address vast challenges, underlining the need to assess what can be achieved between now and the 2015 target date, and the critical factors that impede progress.
Highlighting the importance of bilateral and multilateral cooperation, he stated that “we must speak with a strong voice as the E9 network, and India is proud to carry your voice”.