Although progress has been made towards ensuring the right of every child to quality public primary education, there are still 72 million primary age children out of school. While enrolment has grown rapidly in both South and West Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, one in nine of the world’s children are still missing out on a basic education.
The UK Government has played a vital part in securing the global commitment to dramatically expand educational opportunities for primary-aged children. Its international policy leadership and dialogue, funding commitments and other support to developing countries has helped to secure signifi cant improvements in educational provision in general and in primary school enrolment rates in particular.
But a number of key challenges remain for the UK Department for International Development (DFID) if they are to be effective in playing their part in ensuring the target of universal primary completion by 2015, as expressed in Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 2, and reaching gender parity in primary and secondary education, as expressed in MDG 3, are to be met. At the midway point to the MDGs there are less than 2 years left to get all primary-aged children enrolled in school if they are to complete a course of free, good quality primary education by 2015.
2008 is therefore a crucial year for DFID to take decisive action.
The Final Countdown: achieving quality primary education for all by 2015, which has been produced by the Global Campaign for Education evaluates DFID’s promises and approach to meeting the education MDGs to date and recommends fi ve actions DFID should take to better realise its commitment to achieving universal primary education by 2015. These are:
- Triple aid disbursement to education in the next two years in order to meet funding commitments;
- Ensure greater stability in aid fl ows to education Increase investment in those countries furthest from achieving the education MDGs;
- Ensure that the development and annual review of national education policy effectively addresses issues of quality, equity and inclusion;
- Engage more with the macro-economic context in partner countries to ensure that the delivery of quality education is not impeded by macroeconomic constraints.
The Final Countdown also provide some strategies for achieving these recommendations.