Vows by international leaders to raise global education standards by 2030 are unlikely to be fulfilled, warns the United Nations’ education agency. According to UNESCO, the current trends highlight that 30 percent of adults and 20 percent of youngsters will still be illiterate in poor countries. Moreover, almost 262 million youngsters had no access to school in sub-Saharan Africa according to the UNESCO report, which highlights how the international community has failed altogether to raise the bar of global education.
The UN agency warns that these missing education numbers were likely to amplify in the coming decade. The report by the agency also investigates the progress made in terms of global targets or the “sustainable development goals”, which the international community committed in the year 2015 to be accomplished by 2030.
Progress slows down
Promises on education made by the international community were not fulfilled as per the projections from UNESCO. The world leaders were off track, unlikely to make significant changes in the direction. Moreover, almost 18 percent children lack proper school places, with further fall to 14 percent by the end of the next decade. This also means that almost 225 million children were out of school around the globe .
The report highlights the progress in the early years of the century, particularly in reducing the number of primary age children who do not even get the first basics of an education. Also, the ratio of out-of-school children also fell to nine percent from 15 percent between 2000-2008, but the report says the progress seems to be stalled due to a reduction in international aid. Moreover, there is a group of children whose prospects of going to school have been disrupted by violence and war, being forced to become refugees at the hands of corruption and political failures.
Shortage of teachers
Inequalities in terms of access are quite visible. Girls hailing from rural families rarely acquire education, with only four percent of youngsters from low socio-economic backgrounds completing their secondary schooling. The report also highlights that there is an acute shortage of quality teachers across the globe. Teachers in sub-Saharan Africa lacked basic training which was further deteriorating the situation. The escalating population has also been a challenge in this region with almost 54 percent of children not pursuing school education in comparison to 41 percent in 2000.
Around the world, about 90 percent of adults will be literate by 2030, the report says, however in low-income countries, there will still be 30 percent of illiterate adults.
Aftermaths of war
UNESCO also highlighted the differences in the outcomes of developed and developing countries. Liberia was ranked as the country with least possibilities to provide education to their children, with numerous school buildings being damaged at the hands of conflict with teachers fleeing away from the country. However, Ethiopia was making much progress with a quarter of its budget being invested on education, along with making special provisions to increase girl admittance in schools. Nepal and Afghanistan were also making an improvement with increased access to education.
The missed education targets by world leaders highlights how they have failed in fulfilling their promises, despite education being their central concern to introduce changes on both, social and economic fronts. Promises made in 1990 to ensure equal access to primary education were still not fulfilled, passing their deadline which was 2000. These promises were later replaced with millennium goals for making improvements in the global education sector by the 2015 deadline, which was also missed. Later sustainable development goals followed in 2015, with a 2030 deadline. The goals pledged to provide children with ample prospects so that they can complete their primary and secondary education by 2030. However, the latest UNESCO report indicates that ‘almost a third of the 15-year target has elapsed, the trends suggest these goals are likely to be missed.’
“The world is far off track on achieving international commitments to education. For several years now, no progress has been made on access to primary and secondary education. Only one in two young people complete secondary school,” the report added.