Universal access and quality: the double challenge in education

Article, 09.04.2015

Fifteen years after the adoption of the Dakar Framework for Action, the 2015 edition of the Global Monitoring Report on Education for All presents a mixed picture. Some progress has been made, but the most vulnerable are still not fully integrated into educational programmes in many parts of the world. The SDC makes universal access to education a priority, and at the same time ensures the quality of the education programmes provided.

Extract from the cover of the Education for All Global Monitoring Report 2015.
Co-financed by the SDC, the 2015 edition of the Education for All Global Monitoring Report assesses the results obtained with respect to the six goals listed in the Dakar Framework for Action adopted in 2000. © UNESCO

On 9 April 2015 UNESCO will issue the latest edition of its Global Monitoring Report on Education for All. Co-financed by the SDC, the document provides a detailed assessment of the results obtained with respect to the six goals listed in the Dakar Framework for Action, which was adopted in 2000. The general finding of the report is that the goals were only partially achieved. The text outlines the challenges that remain before new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are adopted. 

The most vulnerable are still excluded

The Global Monitoring Report on Education in 2015 describes a number of encouraging developments, including progress made in primary education, one of the priorities set by the Millennium Development Goals: nine out of ten children now attend school. 

However, it also highlights unfortunate persistent trends that tarnish this picture. The most vulnerable population groups (disadvantaged families, girls and women, ethnic minorities, victims of conflict) are still too often excluded from education and vocational training. The schooling that most receive is of very poor quality, and in 32 countries one in five school children gives up school before completing primary education. As a result, in South Asia and West Africa more than 60% of children on average leave school without being able to read or write. 

Developing training programmes tailored to needs

Including the most disadvantaged in education is one thing; making school instruction truly educational and useful is another. In its efforts to ensure universal and equal access to education, the SDC is therefore working to improve the quality of education programmes. This involves, in particular, developing school and vocational training curricula that are properly adapted to the needs of learners. Providing good-quality education is a key condition for development. 

In addition to supporting pilot projects in several partner countries, the SDC engages in political dialogue with national education authorities. The SDC supports various non-formal education initiatives. It also shares some Swiss educational practices, such as the "10th year" of schooling, which allows some young people to add another year to their compulsory education and so increase their chances of finding an apprenticeship. Finally, the SDC contributes CHF 13 million a year to programmes established by various international partners. 

Serbia: The social integration of Roma children requires education

Niger: Better training to facilitate the integration of youngsters in rural areas into the labour market

Presentation and discussion of the Report in Switzerland

Two events organised by SDC partner organisations are to be held in Switzerland to mark the publication of the 2015 Education for All Global Monitoring Report. On 22 April NORRAG is organising a roundtable discussion at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID), Geneva. On 30 April a presentation and discussion of the report will be held by the Swiss Network for Education and International Cooperation and the Swiss Forum for Vocational Training and International Cooperation at the Zurich University of Teacher Education.