Post-primary learning opportunities are essential for combating poverty and creating economic mobility, making secondary education the next great challenge for global education. The demand for secondary education around the world has grown as more children enter and progress through primary school. Additionally, secondary education links primary school to higher education, and connects school systems to labor markets. However, despite global progress in secondary enrollment, both access and quality remain major concerns.
On December 6, the Center for Universal Education at Brookings hosted a discussion on improving youth learning opportunities and outcomes, and the priority of secondary education in the global development agenda. Albert Motivans of the UNESCO Institute for Statistics provided an overview of the 2011 Global Education Digest: A Focus on Secondary Education. Sir John Daniel, president and CEO of Commonwealth Learning, and Brookings Nonresident Senior Fellow Kevin Watkins discussed the need to ensure education equity, meet the growing demand for qualified teachers, and solve financing challenges. Kavitha Cardoza, a senior reporter with WAMU 88.5 who covers education issues throughout the Washington, DC Metropolitan area, moderated the discussion.
After the discussion, participants took audience questions.
“The 21st century has revalued these small geographies. That’s what the 21st century demands,” Katz said, noting that these days, “[w]e aren’t innovating in isolated business parks” in the suburbs.