Education-Fundamental Human Right
Education is a fundamental human right. This section talks about 'Education For All' movement and its goals.
Education as Fundamental and Human Right
Every citizen of India has the right to education. Some of the basic principles which guide us are –education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages; elementary education shall be compulsory; technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.
Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.
Education for All (EFA)
The Education for All movement is a global commitment to provide quality basic education for all children, youth and adults. The movement was launched at the World Conference on Education for All in 1990.
Many years later, many countries are far from this stated goal. Representatives from various countries met again in Dakar, Senegal and affirmed their commitment to achieving Education for All by the year 2015. They identified six key education goals which aim to meet the learning needs of all children, youth and adults by 2015.
As the lead agency, UNESCO is mobilising and harmonising the international efforts to reach Education coordination for All. Governments, development agencies, civil society, non-government organisations and the media are but some of the partners working toward reaching these goals.
The drive to achieve the EFA goals also contributes to the global pursuit of the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), especially MDG 2 on universal primary education and MDG 3 on gender equality in education, by 2015.
Six specific education goals
- Expand and improve comprehensive early childhood care and education, especially for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged children.
- Ensure that by 2015 all children, particularly girls, those in difficult circumstances, and those belonging to ethnic minorities, have access to and complete, free and compulsory primary education of good quality.
- Ensure that the learning needs of all young people and adults are met through equitable access to appropriate learning and life-skills programs.
- Achieve a 50 % improvement in adult literacy by 2015, especially for women, and equitable access to basic and continuing education for all adults.
- Eliminate gender disparities in primary and secondary education by 2005, and achieve gender equality in education by 2015, with a focus on ensuring full and equal access and achievement in basic education of good quality for girls.
- Improve all aspects of the quality of education and ensure the excellence of all, so that recognized and measurable learning outcomes are achieved by all, especially in literacy, numeracy and essential life skills.
Why is EFA important?
Achieving the Education for All goals is critical for attaining all 8 MDGs—in part due to the direct impact of education on child and reproductive health, as well as the fact that EFA has created a body of experience in multi-partner collaboration toward the 2015 targets. Simultaneously, achieving the other MDGs, such as improved health, access to clean drinking water, decreased poverty, and environmental sustainability, are critical to achieving the education MDGs. Although there has been steady progress towards achieving many EFA goals, challenges remain. Today, there are many children of school age, who are still not in school due to financial, social, or physical challenges, including high fertility rates, HIV/AIDS, and conflict. Access to schooling in developing countries has improved since 1990—some 47 out of 163 countries have achieved universal primary education (MDG 2) and an additional 20 countries are estimated to be “on track” to achieve this goal by 2015. However, huge challenges remain in 44 countries, 23 of which are in Sub-Saharan Africa. These countries are unlikely to achieve universal primary education by 2015 unless domestic and international efforts are accelerated substantially. Although the gender gap in education (MDG 3) is narrowing, girls are still at disadvantage when it comes to access and completion of both primary and secondary schooling. Despite recent gains in girls’ enrolment at both the primary and secondary levels—particularly in low-income countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia—24 countries are unlikely to achieve gender parity at either the primary or at secondary level by 2015. The majority of these countries (13) are in Sub-Saharan Africa. Poor learning outcomes and low-quality education also remain overriding concerns in the education sector. For example, in many developing countries, less than 60 percent of primary school pupils who enrol in first grade reach the last grade of schooling. Additionally, pupil/teacher ratios in many countries exceed 40:1 and many primary teachers lack adequate qualifications. More on Education for all..
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