The Gambia National Commission for UNESCO recently launched the Education for all Global Monitoring Report 2011 at the Atlantic Hotel in
The theme for the 2011 EFA Global Monitoring Report was ‘the Hidden Crisis, Armed Conflict and Education.’
The report highlighted how the world is faring with regard to the achievement of the six EFA goals by 2015.
Speaking at the launching, Mrs Sukai Bojang, Secretary General of UNESCO in The Gambia, highlighted the progress made towards achieving 2015 international goals.
She said some progress have been registered in early childhood welfare. Mortality rates among under-five year old children have fallen from 12.5 million children in 1990 to 8.8 million in 2008.
She said for the enrolment rates, an additional 52 million children were enrolled in school from 1999 to 2008. In sub-Saharan Africa, enrollment rates rose by one third whilst south and west
According to her, credible challenges remains hunger negative impacts progress. In developing countries, one in three of the 195 million under-five-year-old children experience malnutrition. It is common knowledge that malnutrition affects the cognitive development and long term educational prospects of children. With regard to achieving Universal Primary Education, progress has been slow, she says.
In 2008, 68 million children were out of school. If this trend continues, there could be more children out of school by 2015 today.
She further highlighted recommendations for change and said with less than five years to 2015, concerted efforts must be made to ensure progress towards the achievement of the EFA goals.
The world financial crisis has increased the pressure on education budgets and the abilities of poor countries to honour commitments to the sectors. Thus the donor community and national government should establish an international finance Facility for Education on the same lines as the health sector, she says, adding that this will help donors to mobilize new resources for education.
The vice chairperson of the National Commission for UNESCO, Dr Fatoumatta Sisay Joof, said: “Today, conflict is robbing 28 million children of our future. These children are deprived of proper homes, adequate sanitation and most importantly, education. Some of these children are exposed to horrible violence, rape and other sexual violence, disease, famine, hunger and worst still, they either have their limbs mutilated or be forcefully enlisted as child soldiers.”
The study, she said, has revealed that many countries would not attain the six Education for ALL goals by a wide margin and the most affected are those in conflict areas.
“The report to be presented today highlights the challenges faced by not only these countries but also poor ones as well. It equally gives adequate data projection on what to expect if solutions are not found quickly,” she said.
She noted that in most cases, countries where there are no crises tend to believe they have nothing to fear and do not take adequate preventive measures to sustain the peace they enjoy.
The report clearly states that education plays a fundamental role in building peace and sustaining it.
“The UNESCO motto pronounces that wars begin in the minds of men and women and therefore, it is in the minds of men and women that the defence of peace must be construed. Education is regarded a powerful force that can build peace, tolerance and understanding between peoples,” she stressed.