What is our vision of education?

The world’s current global education goals expire in 2015 as both the Dakar Framework for Education For All and the Millennium Development Goals come to an end. Replacements for both frameworks are under negotiation. World leaders have a chance to take these agendas further and finally ensure everyone has a chance to obtain a quality education.

GCE was established in the run up to the agreement of the MDGs and EFA goals and has a long history of campaigning and advocacy to make sure that States deliver the right of everyone to a free, quality, public education. We consider it essential to engage with the negotiation around their replacement frameworks since they will lay the foundations of a new global education agenda, and influence the overall discourse on education globally. We believe that both must be grounded in a human rights perspective. What needs to be done has been well established in treaties, conventions, and previous declarations and frameworks; what is missing is a global political commitment to all that is implied by the right to education – that is, a comprehensive commitment to educational access, inclusion, quality and equity and the willingness to create the conditions for success.

Current consultations, August – September 2015

Following huge efforts by the civil society community to lobby for a new rights-based framework for education post-2015, the development of the overall ‘Education 2030’ agenda is now reaching its conclusion. Efforts must now focus on how countries will track progress of the new education agenda, and campaigners are working to ensure that a human rights focus is maintained in this important area of work.

The UN has established an Interagency Expert Group for SDG Indicators (IAEG-SDG), to look into the development of global indicators for the SDGs. Earlier, the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) was tasked to look into the development of the indicators for the education for all process, with a focus on thematic indicators. As part of this process, civil society is encouraged to participate in consultations for the development of these two sets of indicators. If you would like more information and support with these consultations or any of GCE’s work on education post-2015, please contact Anjela Taneja, GCE’s Head of Policy here.

GCE’s position on education post-2015

In mid-August 2015, the UN published its final draft outcomes document, Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, in advance of the UN Sustainable Development Summit, 25-27th September 2015. Following over a year of lobbying, GCE broadly welcomed the document for its commitment to the full spectrum of education. GCE is driven by our position on education post-2015, Equitable, Inclusive and Free: a collective vision for quality education beyond 2015 and the declaration of the 2014 Global EFA Meeting, the Muscat Agreement, which it sees as the expert position on education in the post-2015 framework. An update to this policy statement, along with campaign notes, was published in May 2015.

In May 2015, Korea hosted the World Education Forum, at which world leaders agreed a new declaration on delivering education for all. During this event, the Global Campaign for Education launched its civil society review of the last fifteen years of Education For All, Time to Get it Right: Lessons from EFA and the MDGs for Education 2016-2030. This report analyses the delivery of Education For All, drawing upon the wide variety of experiences of civil society education campaigns around the worldwide, and identifies five key lessons for the future.

The History: the background of EFA and the Millennium Development Goals

In 2000 at the Dakar World Education Forum (Dakar, 2000), 164 governments pledged to achieve EFA and identified six goals to be met by 2015. Governments, development agencies, civil society and the private sector are working together to reach the EFA goals. This formed the global consensus of what the education community wanted achieved on education and formed the basis for the accompanying architecture for tracking progress in education.

At the same time, the United Nations developed a comprehensive agenda for international development. The eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) sought to focus international assistance on the most crucial issues facing humanity. All 189 United Nations member states at the time committed to help achieve the following Millennium Development Goals by 2015. Two of the EFA goals- universal primary education and gender parity in education – formed part of the MDGs.

Over the years, the language of these goals drove policy discourse worldwide. However, in 2014, none of the EFA goals appear to have been achieved at the global level. This is partly because of the failure of states to invest adequate resources in implementation of these agendas. We believe that the lessons from the implementation of the past framework should feed back into the development of both the new post-2015 frameworks. The two frameworks must also be in better synergy than has been the case so far.

The post-2015 processes and GCE’s participation

The development of the post-2015 framework has been an ongoing, constantly evolving and multi-pronged process. GCE has engaged with both the Sustainable Development Goals (the likely framework for new development goals after 2015) and post-EFA global processes. In so doing, we seek to influence the actual goals, targets and indicators laid down under both frameworks and the discourse around what matters in education in the runup to the development of these frameworks (nationally, regionally and globally) in favour of an education agenda which has the human right to education at its heart.

Some of the processes leading to the post-EFA agenda in which GCE has taken part included:

  • Formal consultations as a member of the EFA steering committee of UNESCO
  • Global EFA Meeting (GEM) in Oman leading to the formulation of the Muscat Agreement. GCE was part of the drafting group in our capacity as the co-Vice Chair of the EFA steering group. More information on this is available here.
  • Collective Consultation of NGOs (CCNGO): discussions in Paris and Santiago which reiterated the need for a holistic Post 2015 framework.
  • Participation of our members in the all EFA Regional Consultations, including participation in the drafting group in all five conferences. The final statements from these conferences and presentations made during these conferences can be accessed online here: Asia Pacific, Latin America and Caribbean, Middle East, Africa and Europe and North America.

Some of the different processes on the broader post 2015-development agenda where GCE has had a role have included:

  • United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Thematic Consultations, which for education are led by UNESCO/UNICEF. The EFA steering committee (of which GCE is a co-vice chair) took the lead with this, culminating in Education in the Post-2015 Agenda: Summary of Outcomes
  • A series of national consultations which looked at cross-sectoral issues. Several GCE member coalitions took part in these consultations and sought to highlight the importance of education in the new global agenda.
  • The High Level Panel of Eminent Persons in the Post-2015 Development Agenda, convened by the UN Secretary-General, who submitted their report in 2013.
  • UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (UN SDSN) reports on SDGs. GCE made submissions in response to both reports, and the final documents from the UN SDSN can be viewed here.
  • UN Open Working Group on Sustainable Development (OWG), comprised of UN Members mandated by the UN General Assembly, as an outcome of the Rio+ 20 conference. GCE worked jointly with Education International and other civil society organisations in response to the shared OWG drafts, as well as involving regional and national education coalitions.
  • World We Want: a global, online consultation asking citizens to rate development issues. GCE and Education International were on the advisory group. GCE co-convened one of the online discussions and contributed to the final report for this theme.

GCE spent 18 months in consultation with its membership to develop the final proposed goal on education for the sustainable development framework. Throughout this process, GCE has produced a variety of papers to record the inputs of members and partners. There was also engagement with other like-minded groups to influence the large community of civil society across the world.

Opportunities for engagement in the post-2015 process

While time is critical, there remain opportunities for education campaigners to engage in and influence the post-2015 process.

  • Advocate for a rights-based standalone goal on education in the sustainable development framework and the continuation of the EFA mechanisms after 2015. Initiate dialogue with policy-makers in your country: request meetings with your Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Education and Development in discuss their strategies in relation to the post-2015 process. The GCE position document and the UNESCO Oman Declaration would provide good starting points for the discussions. Current issues include: Arriving on a set of robust indicators for the framework (global, thematic and regional); ensuring adequate financing to implement the framework, establishing a strong framework for monitoring and accountability for the implementation of the new framework; and an ambitious new EFA Framework.
  • Find out about regional opportunities: a number of regional consultations are underway globally, both for the Sustainable Development Goals and EFA frameworks. Track the latest advocacy spaces on the SDG processes available on the Beyond2015 website. Watch this page for information on upcoming spaces for the post-EFA process.
  • Lobby your national representatives to the UN and UNESCO: member states are represented at the UN by their Permanent Missions and UN Ambassadors in New York. For engagement with UNESCO, several countries also have a Permanent Delegations to UNESCO. If you want your country’s representatives in either forum to support your agendas in the post-SDG process and post-EFA processes respectively, it would be useful to get in touch with them. This is particularly important since they may not be fully briefed on the specific intricacies of the education discussions. You can access a list of Twitter handles for UN missions, governments and other key influencers here (provided by Beyond2015)
  • Initiate discussions with your National Statistics Commission to arrive on a set of indicators that are true to the education goal and targets.
  • Start thinking about and planning towards actions that your country will need to take in order to implement the new framework that will come into force in January 2016.

The Global Campaign for Education (GCE) is a civil society movement that aims to end exclusion in education. Education is a basic human right, and our mission is to make sure that governments act now to deliver the right of everyone to a free, quality, public education.