People Power: The RESULTS International Conference
This blog entry originally appeared at the Education for All blog
Education advocates rally to support education for all beyond 2015
Last week 500 advocates from 20 countries converged on Washington as part of RESULTS annual International Conference. Speakers at the conference included, among others:
- Professor Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Laureate and Founder of the Grameen Bank
- Kul Gautam, former Assistant Secretary-General of the UN and Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF
- Carol Bellamy, former Executive Director of UNICEF and former Chair of the Board of Directors of GPE
- Anthony Lake, Executive Director of UNICEF
- Mark Dybul, Executive Director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria
On the final day of the conference, RESULTS volunteers took to Capitol Hill, the World Bank, and GPE to advocate their priority issues in education development.
A call for action
A central theme emerging throughout the conference was a call for immediate action to realize a quality basic education for all as a fundamental foundation towards ending poverty. Inspired by World Bank Group President Dr. Jim Yong Kim’s bold agenda to end extreme poverty by 2030, RESULTS volunteers and allies are pushing their campaign forward with renewed energy to achieve Education for All, rally efforts towards meeting the education Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015, and see to it that a post-2015 development agenda prioritizes the expansion of basic education, improving learning outcomes, and reaching the marginalized.
In 2013 alone, countries are expected to request over $1 billion from the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) to support their basic education plans, and as Carol Bellamy told the audience, GPE anticipates that by the end of 2014, it will have provided over $4 billion since its establishment in 2002 to support education in nearly 60 countries. RESULTS volunteers understand the critical importance of a successful GPE replenishment and have already begun their advocacy campaign in the run-up to GPE’s June 2014 pledging conference. RESULTS volunteers from the UK and Australia are keen to support their governments in retaining their roles as the largest contributors to the GPE Fund. Those from Canada are working to protect and increase its commitment in an era of budget cuts, and those in the US continue to encourage the US to make a multi-year pledge to the Fund.
Education for All Act
Taking to the Hill the day after its introduction, RESULTS volunteers from the US are championing the Education for All Act, H.R. 2780. If passed, the act will ensure that US policy contributes to a successful international effort to provide all children with a quality basic education through the creation of a comprehensive strategy to achieve the targets and goals of Education for All.
World Bank support to basic education
RESULTS international partners spent a day during the International Conference meeting with World Bank staff to explore how they can maximize their support for basic education in the countries worst off. Despite a recent 2010 World Bank pledge to accelerate progress toward the education MDGs, increased World Bank investments in basic education have not materialized. The trends in the chart below illustrate RESULTS concerns about World Bank support to basic education overall as well as to critical subsets such as GPE developing country partners, the Africa region, and conflict-affected and fragile states:
Education beyond 2015
Finally, RESULTS continues to look ahead to education beyond 2015 and calls on three priority education fronts that should be reflected in the post-2015 development agenda:
Finish the job by achieving universal equitable access to primary education as targeted by the current education MDGs.
Expand the horizon of education access both upward to secondary school and downward to pre-primary school.
Focus on quality, not just quantity, by targeting learning outcomes and learning environments.