Education Cannot Wait

Since the beginning, the international community has been known to come together and set and miss frustrating education targets. Little efforts are made for the world where far too many children are going without a quality education. (9 minutes read)

Since the beginning, the international community has been known to come together and set and miss frustrating education targets. Little efforts are made for the world where far too many children are going without a quality education. G20 summit of 2017 got us an update to make sure that children around the world have access to this essential right.

The Situation

Included in the G20 Summit Leaders’ Declaration is an agreement for more and better education financing through support for the International Finance Facility for education. With this declaration, world leaders claim to meet the sustainable development goal of an inclusive and quality education for all. Education Commission is an organisation that develops an investment case and financing pathway for achieving equal educational opportunity for children and youth. Education Commission predicts that, by 2030, half a generation — more than 800 million children — will lack basic skills necessary to thrive in tomorrow’s economy.

Recent years will one day be remembered as a time when, across 35 crisis-affected countries, it was more dangerous to be a child on the streets than a soldier in the trenches. Whether we talk about war against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, Taliban in Afghanistan, Civil War in Libya and South Sudan, Boko Haram in Nigeria, War in Yemen or Al-Shabab in Somalia. Many of the children who flee conflict zones cannot even access the one thing that can make their lives better — education. Without it, girls, in particular, will be victims of early marriage, trafficking, child labour and sexual discrimination.

Since 2002, the share of education funding in total international aid has fallen from 13% to 10%. A painful global recession turned back the clock on national education budgets — which is where most of the resources for education come from — and slowed the positive momentum witnessed in the early 2000s. While the international community agreed to bold, new sustainable development goals in 2017 — universal primary and secondary education by 2030 — we have, until now, failed to find a way to finance them.

Efforts

The G20’s support for the proposed International Finance Facility for Education means new money tied to real results in children’s lives. The facility offers a lifeline for many of the world’s children who are out of school. This pact between countries that are willing to invest and reform, and an international community eager to take action, proves cooperation is alive and well.

Hope

Education deserves nothing less than such a commitment. Delivering on that promise for all children is the civil rights struggle of our age. And it can be won, for history proves that what sometimes seems impossible can be made possible. In the 1960s, the world marched for civil rights. Consequently, in the 1970s and 80s, people came together to boycott a South African regime and end the oppressive forces of apartheid. And, in the last two decades, the avenues to guarantee the rights of women, people with disabilities, and LGBT persons have been expanded. Agreed, there is still much work to be done in these realms, but the battle to secure children’s rights — neglected for far too long — deserves the same relentless commitment.

We can be the first generation in history where not just some children but every single child in the world is not exploited but educated. This requires investments and reforms from the national governments. It appeals the international community to step up to the mark and do more. And, it demands parents, teachers and students to engage in a more inclusive environment.

Let us make the next generation, a learning generation. We can make it happen.

Aakash Balasubramanian
A budding entrepreneur with a huge appetite for travel and adventure for food. I believe every idea can be big, but not everyone possesses the skills to make something grand of their idea. I feel confident of possessing myself with the requisite skills to push my ideas to the next level.
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