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Education is the “pillar” for all other development goals though each country is different and quantity does not guarantee quality. These were among the lessons shared by experts at the High-level discussion on education in the post-2015 development agenda hosted last month in Brussels by the Norwegian Mission to the European Union.
“Education is one of the foundations for development and Erasmus Mundus addressed the needs of developing countries in higher education. We tend to focus on basic education in our development programmes but this is not enough. We need to invest in a continuum of education and Erasmus Mundus provided this opportunity for students and for institutions to increase their capacity,” said Veronique Lorenzo, Head of Unit for Education at the European Commission’s Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development.
Non-formal education is drawing renewed attention in development policy, notably given the high illiteracy rates among adults. Participants at last year’s European Development Days presented a variety of non-formal education projects, making the case that these are essential for development and need to be taken into account in the post-2015 agenda.
One of the many casualties of crises is education. Natural disasters, wars and protracted conflict are disrupting children’s access to schools and contributing to higher drop-out and lower completion rates. Schools can also be destroyed or taken over by military groups, and prolonged conflicts can leave them without trained teachers, resources or funding. In 2015, 80 million children and young people’s education was affected by humanitarian emergencies and protracted crises. 
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Despite important investments, educational outcomes in South Africa still have a long way to go. From programmes targeting early-childhood development to life-skill workshops, we discussed EU involvement in the country with Arno Schaefer, Head of Cooperation at the EU Delegation.
After years of conflict and instability, impoverished Somalia faces a daunting list of development and security challenges. This arid country is vulnerable to famine and disease, the long coastline is a haven for pirates and the militant extremist group al-Shabab remains a potent threat. But when speaking to capacity4dev.eu recently, Deputy Prime Minister of Somalia Mohamed Omar Arteh said the most pressing issue of all for his country is addressing the needs of the youth.
Education, alongside Health, forms an essential sector of EU assistance to South Sudan. With one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world, the country bears the shocking statistic that a girl is three times more likely to die in childbirth before the age of 18 than she is to complete secondary education. Minister for Education, Joseph Ukel Abango, EU Head of Delegation to South Sudan, Sven Kühn von Burgsdorff, and Save the Children’s Country Coordinator for Alternative Education, Mark Chapple share their views on the country’s education situation and the on-going efforts to improve it.
Namibia is often held up as Africa’s poster child for progress in education. But while the sector has been well funded for over twenty years and attendance rates meet the requirements of the Millennium Development Goals, learning achievements remain poor.
vocational ed South Africa
Many children fall through the gaps in South Africa’s education system. Only half of learners in Grade 1 make it to Grade 12, and many fall short of exam requirements. The EU has been supporting South Africa’s Departments of Basic Education and Higher Education and Training since 2004 to move towards inclusive education for all, with specific measures to support learners with disabilities and from disadvantaged backgrounds. Capacity4dev hears about a programme providing books for every child; the rise of full-service schools; and improving vocational education.
Having managed to slip away briefly from her household chores, Joyce Mtenje sits at a wooden desk in a district resource centre in Malawi, flipping through the pages of “The Nation” newspaper. She's taking advantage of an EU-funded centre that's about to transform to a Malawian institution.

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