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Education - A Key Driver for Development

Reactions to the Kapuscinski Development Lecture by Julia Gillard, Chair of the Board of Directors, Global Partnership for Education. Brussels, 11 February 2015

"While great progress has been made, it is a sad fact that 15 years after the UN Millennium Development Goals for education were established, 58 million children of primary school age don't go to school and 40% of them will never enter a classroom. These children and young adults are trying to survive without the most basic skills that are essential for employment, health and understanding their rights. Watch Julia Gillard's lecture here: http://kapuscinskilectures.eu/lectures/education-a-key-driver-for-develo... "

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All the past effort and education programs got us here with all the deficits and gains we can read in the statistics.

Now, I believe, is the time to think out of the box, move onto a new platform of thinking and action and get to the remainder of the problem, the 58 million not in school, all the ones who went to school and dropped out as well as all the ones who finished school only to find no job opportunities in their communities making them revert right back to old habits and behaviours.

To address the remainder of the problem all new education programs have to aim at the communities where the children live. The communities have to be educated, their bread-winning skills developed, their living conditions improved, their sanitation, health and tranportation infrastructures developed. On average, 60% of all Africans (76% of eastern Africans and 80% in some countries) live in rural communities and they are missing most of the education opportunities. That is not to say that the urban communities are doing just fine. They also need assitance, but they are not as deprived as the rural communities, by a long shot. 

The task faced by a teacher in these countries is, to say the least, daunting if not downright frustrating. They try to educate children that live in communities that do not value, for the most part, what the children learn in school. And when they do value education they do not have the financial means to provide basic nutrition, safety, shelter, health and supprt for what children are learning (or being taught) in school.

The net effect is that way more home learning prevails in school than school learning prevails at home.

Education needs to be a community wide effort, all ages, all genders, all members of the family. That is the challenge for the next 15 years! 

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17 February 2015

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