Equal opportunity in life requires equal access to a basic education
Providing greater access to basic education is essential for advancing the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
Alongside efforts to increase access, more concerted efforts are needed to improve quality. This could be aided at least in part by introducing clearer, more widely-recognized global standards to benchmark learning outcomes and enable less-siloed education and more individualized learning paths. We have today lots of solutions coming up thanks to the Ed Tech Innovations. Are they getting linked with the relevant stakeholders to meet the required need?
Fewer than 10% of countries have laws that help ensure full inclusion in their education systems, according to a UNESCO report published in 2020.
One widely shared, the persistent barrier to providing a broadly accessible, adequate basic education is cost. According to UNESCO’s review of the UN’s Millennium Development Goals (precursors to the SDGs targeted to 2015), an additional $22 billion would be needed every year in order to meet basic education targets for 2030. And, according to a UNESCO report published in 2020, 41% of countries were not conducting meaningful surveys on individual education characteristics such as disabilities - or making related data available. Are we saying that there is a gap in ensuring that this data is readily collected and collated?
Technological innovation could be one means to help address the issue, especially when it comes to children in rural areas and those regularly migrating with their parents.
According to UNICEF, more than 175 million children worldwide have not been receiving pre-primary education, and inequality in terms of access remains high particularly among the poor and disadvantaged. While nearly two-thirds of all countries have attained gender parity in primary education, girls are still less likely than boys to start secondary education; disability and membership in an ethnic minority can present further obstacles. In addition to boosting the enrolment of children in basic education, a greater focus should be placed on learning infrastructure - on training teachers, and creating healthy and safe learning environments not only during school hours but also at home.
While many countries are able to provide adequate primary education, many more struggle with quality and availability; this has been particularly concerning in sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, North Africa, and parts of Southeast Asia, according to the WEF’s Global Human Capital Report.