Southern Perspectives on Learning and Equity in the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Agenda

Written by Allison Anderson on the Brookings blog:

“On December 11, the United Nations (UN) hosted the sixth session of the intergovernmental Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals (OWG). This session of the OWG served as a key opportunity for civil society voices from the Global South to inform policy discussions on the role of education in the post-2015 agenda. Though no specific goals have yet been determined, a consensus has emerged that improving learning should be at the center of the next development framework, including a focus on access to equitable learning opportunities.

Education experts from sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and Latin America shared recommendations at a side event arranged to promote an ambitious shift from the current Millennium Development Goal (MDG)—that focuses strictly on access to primary school—to a post-2015 education goal that would focus on access to equitable education and lifelong learning. Highlighting the problem of youth unemployment, Ambassador Csaba Kőrösi, co-chair of the OWG and permanent representative of the Republic of Hungary to the UN, called for not only keeping young people in the classroom but also making sure that the knowledge taught is applicable for the job market and society. Overall, there was broad consensus that learning must encompass not only literacy and numeracy, but also transferable skills like critical thinking, problem-solving and civic values—skills that prepare young people for the workforce and to be active, productive members of their communities. This shift will also require more support and capacity-building to enable education systems, teachers, parents and caregivers to better collect, disaggregate and analyze data on learning and identify the accompanying actions needed to improve learning outcomes in all countries.”

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