At the opening of the United Nations General Assembly last month, the message was clear: efforts to get all children into school must continue, but there is also an urgent need to address the unacceptably low learning levels of children and youth around the world. Whereas previous discussions at the General Assembly in years past focused heavily on enrolling more children in school, high-level champions of education, such as Queen Rania of Jordan and Hillary Clinton, called for a shift in focus from just promoting access to access plus learning. This is a real win for proponents of improving education quality, and credit must be given to those in the global education community who joined together to pusher for the importance of learning.
The Learning Metrics Task Force (LMTF), convened by UNESCO’s Institute for Statistics (UIS) and the Center for Universal Education at the Brookings Institution (CUE), is one initiative that has contributed to this significant milestone. The task force recently released recommendations on how to better measure and improve learning worldwide. These recommendations were presented in New York City last month as part of the one-year anniversary celebration of the UN Secretary-General’s Global Education First Initiative (GEFI). The program was moderated by Global Partnership for Education Interim Board Chair and LMTF Co-Chair Geeta Rao Gupta. Several high-level champions of global education—including Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia, President Moncef Marzouki of Tunisia—spoke about the recommendations and the importance of focusing on learning and measuring learning outcomes. Please see their remarks below:
Her Majesty Queen Rania emphasizes the critical need for equitable learning opportunities and calls for a data revolution to better inform progress.
Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf highlights Liberia’s current challenges in providing quality education and how the task force recommendations fit within the Liberian context.
Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki shares a story from his own childhood and why he will make education the highest priority in his country.
Representing the international teachers’ union, Education International, Lily Eskelsen García calls for the inclusion of teachers in global conversations on measurement and the use of assessment data.
Irina Bokova of UNESCO talks about the importance of education as a cross-cutting issue, which can help solve all other development problems.