2016 Education Report consultation: Education, sustainability and the post-2015 development agenda

Share your views to help develop the forthcoming 2016 Education Report

Please note the consultation is now closed as of 16 February 2015. Thank you to everyone who contributed. Please check our website, for further developments related to the Global Monitoring Report 2016.

The Education for All (EFA) Global Monitoring Report (GMR) is an authoritative, analytical, evidence-based report, which has monitored progress on an almost annual basis towards the EFA goals, and the two education-related Millennium Development Goals since 2002. A final report on EFA achievements and remaining challenges is soon to be completed and will be launched in April 2015.

Starting in 2016, a new series of reports will monitor the state of education in the new framework of the anticipated Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The first report in the series, the 2016 Report, will be ‘Education, sustainability and the post-2015 development agenda’, as decided with the strong support of the GMR Advisory Board. The 2016 report will focus on the complex interrelationships and links between education and key development sectors, and determine which education strategies, policies and programmes are most effectively linked to the economic, social, environmental and political priorities of the new sustainable development agenda. The report will also establish a new monitoring framework for education, and examine key financing and governance challenges for the post-2015 era.

We are keen to hear your views on the chosen theme. Your help will contribute to our thinking on education’s role in sustainable development, and to the shape and content of the report. We particularly welcome experts from non-education sectors to be part of this public consultation, as well as researchers, sector experts, practitioners, teachers, governments, non-governmental organizations, aid donors, and anyone with an interest in education and development to share your views.

Please read the concept note and contribute to this online consultation before 15 February. 

Post your contributions as comments (below) to this blog, providing web links to research reports, policy papers, evaluations, and other documents or datasets that you think would be useful for the Report team.

If you would rather email your comments, or have attachments of documents or data that you would like to share with the Report team, please send them directly to efareport@unesco.org with ‘2016 Report Consultation’ as a subject heading.

37 thoughts on “2016 Education Report consultation: Education, sustainability and the post-2015 development agenda

  1. chalkpower

    Teachers can teach about many different global issues in their classrooms to make their students more aware of what is happening in our world. But they should be actively engaged in teaching for a better world by forming collaborative relationships with their students to critically examine and respond to the root causes of these issues. Education systems which emphasise centralised curricula and testing systems reduce teachers and students to passive purveyors and recipients of packaged information to perpetuate the global market economy, instead of challenging them to take their part as active global citizens to reconstruct the world order. Such collaborative relationships should extend beyond the classroom to embrace our brothers and sisters on all continents – a global classroom.


  2. shaheen attiqur rahman

    We must also think of older Children, ages 10 + who more often then not are left out of any form of schooling. This is one reason for poor retention
    of children in schools, more so for children living in rural areas. The girls are still not at par with boys in schooling in many developing countries, mostly due to disasters both man made & of nature. The mobile phone is one way to overcome some of these lapses, but Governments are still debating about its viability. Older Girls must be focused on for any type of ‘sustainable’ learning outcomes. CLC’s are also most useful , specially for the rural areas , where Life Long Learning & Continuing Education, could be firmly planted with Community support.


  3. Ms. Sahar Saeed , Mr. Imtiaz Nizami, Mr. Waqas Bajwa, Ms. Ayesha Bilal and Ms. Zaynah Gilani

    Response from Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi (ITA- Centre of Education & Consciousness), Pakistan.
    The ITA country team leading the ASER and Right to Education Pakistan initiatives applauds the bold efforts of EFA GMR Team for their robust concept note aiming at establishing a new framework and set of tools for monitoring the post 2015 education goals and its targets. We appreciate that the report will not only create linkages between education and key development sectors or all other SDGs, but will also report innovatively on progress for indicators relating to right to education regimes, learning outcomes as a lifelong engagement across all sub-sectors of education (formal/non-formal) making room for ICT embedded innovations nuanced by gender, class and geography. How will data on ‘learning’ be captured authentically since the focus of SDGs (goal 4) will be on learning plus access across the sub-sectors?

    The concept note for GMR 2016 is ambitious and foundational for a fifteen year period-; it embraces key thematic areas of SDGs. GMR 2016 may be seen as a rigorous, comprehensive, analytical, evidence based report (vs. ‘authoritative’). It will report on an expanded agenda since the MDGs covered by GMR were only 2 (MDGs 2 and 3) and the scale was restricted to developing /under developed countries; how will the expanded agenda (across 7 EFA targets/10 SDG targets) of goal/targets with linkages across key themes of SDGs.

    We also applaud the key theme of ‘universality’ being the central principle in SDGs will be recognized by the next GMRs, but we remain confused on a suggested ‘divide’ for the Global North and South across TVET/Upper Secondary and Tertiary education being of more interest /coverage to the former is misplaced and an immediate correction is in order. India for example has the highest number of the poor and yet engages with cutting edge TVET/ and tertiary as do many other countries; it is also one of the new kids on the block as an emerging donor country. A word of caution to ensure that GMR must extend universality principle without discrimination across sub-sectors weaving the themes of sustainability, climate change, peace, inclusion and inequality.

    While the GMR 2016 concept note is ever very comprehensive and promising, it appears to be an ambitious canvass that will have a great deal of substance but may not have sufficient focus on critical areas and linkages. An example of this could be perhaps our view that there is insufficient sense on how the reporting range on ECD/ECCE, post secondary, TVET and tertiary education will juxtapose the balance across two ends of the spectrum for learning foundation, skills and knowledge creation linked to human productivity/skills at the workplace?

    As the concept note illustrates that the upcoming report will be having a separate section on monitoring the post 2015 education goals and targets, responding to new monitoring requirements and examining inputs, processes and outcomes in education systems at all levels of formal and non-formal education, it will be useful if reliability of the education systems in terms of the data sets, sampling and process is also given a sufficient space in this first GMR report for the 2016-30 period to settle framework for data collection practices and their quality.

    The 2016 report will be taking into account a range of issues related to inclusive communities, including governance, protest and safety. It is therefore vital to ensure that efforts are made to as to bring the children/youth with disabilities/different abilities under the net of the monitoring framework and to analyze the efforts done across sectors / regions in reaching out to those children. Different Abilities need to be mainstreamed in the GMR enterprise; it is now or never business ensuring that right to education regimes fully recognize them.

    Two concerns on : a) how Youth may remain a centerpiece target group for GMRs in terms of engagement and innovative outreach work, and b) proactively exploring/monitoring innovations for scalable solutions as a yearlong exercise by GMR through partnerships.

    With the efforts to re-envision the role of education in contributing towards ambitious sustainable development agenda, we are hopeful that the GMR reports after 2016 will be clustered around themes of SDGs linked to education challenges faced by countries in meeting the targets and their possible solutions. Perhaps the GMR Board may consider finalizing the themes, and/or thematic cluster reporting to be reflected in GMR 2016 up to 2030 (this may be tweaked after Sept. 2015); it will give countries lead time to put emphasis on their implementation, cross cutting themes, financing and monitoring initiatives.

    It is reassuring to see that GMR 2016 will lay down a framework for monitoring Financing of SDGs robustly; Financing lies at the heart of SDG 4 and its links with targets and other SDGs; with trends of reduction of ODA, withering away of the Monterrey Consensus, new sources of financing SDGs globally and at the domestic level will be extremely critical, and GMR 2016 will lay the framework for making it into a mainstream theme.

    GMR 2016-2030 must commit to new knowledge products that remain iterative as a hall mark of the GMR team with a powerful dissemination strategy in place through varied partnerships.

    GMR 2016 to propose to country governments, civil society, universities and think tanks to have the GMR link on their official websites for a more proactive approach to dissemination, knowledge sharing and monitoring/reporting on key agreed indicators for SDGs in Education.


  4. Lincoln Ajoku and Jenny Hobbs, Education Advisors, Concern Worldwide

    Response from Concern Worldwide on Concept Note for the 2016 Education Report

    Concern Worldwide thanks the EFA GMR team for the development of this Concept Note, which will allow for a robust discussion on education and sustainable development in 2015 and beyond. Concern’s education programming focuses on working with poor and vulnerable communities on the challenges that frustrate the successful delivery of education services, particularly in the areas of access to quality education, learning outcomes (in early grade literacy and numeracy), and child well-being. Our comments on the report are as follows:

    Overall the approach of the post-2015 education reports promise to bring the strengths and value of previous EFA GMR reports to the new sustainable development agenda. Among the strong points in the Concept Note are its commitment to continue reporting on progress for indicators relating to learning outcomes at the primary and secondary education level, and for adult literacy and numeracy. It is a positive development that the note also highlights lifelong learning in line with the expanded focus of the SDGs in comparison to the MDGs. Lifelong learning carries implications that extend beyond formal schooling, so developing more evidence for this will benefit the sustainable development agenda.

    Some questions arise from the Concept Note, including how future reports will be positioned to “determine which education strategies, policies and programs are most effectively linked to the…priorities of the new sustainable development agenda.” This is an issue because many of the goals and indicators will be relatively new, and by the admission of the EFA GMR team, “the complex set of goals and targets [are] still to be defined and established.” To date the GMR team has demonstrated leadership in critically analyzing policies and approaches. We are keen for this skill to be maintained as the post-2015 indicators are finalized and rolled out, guiding reforms where possible. An example of this may include the efficacy of applying “payment by results” strategies against a set of currently undecided indicators.

    A serious challenge in the years ahead is framed from the vantage of financing to education. The note calls out that aid to education will likely decline between now and 2030. That means future reports which aim to explore education financing, especially from the private sector and via the Global Partnership for Education will be important in this discussion. However, future reports should also consider the impact of declining aid on fragile and conflict-afflicted states which will struggle to mobilize sufficient resources for education. This is particularly because national governments of the global South will increasingly have to carry the responsibility for financing their education sector activities.

    Finally, in the section “Education, sustainability and the post-2015 development agenda,” the note should be commended for calling out a number of cross-cutting issues that impact education, most notably gender equality and empowerment (including prevention of SRGBV) and the focus on peaceful and inclusive societies and human rights. More consideration of the impact of conflict on education and the challenges of providing education in emergency contexts would also be a valuable addition to future education reports.


  5. Lucía Rodríguez

    We honestly thank to the EFA GMR Team the possibility to contribute to the content of the EFA 2016 report.

    We congratulate the GMR team for the approach proposed which we consider not only appropriate but also critical. We welcome the four sections in which the report is planned to be divided and the approach that has been given to each of them.

    However we consider that there are too many aspects that we are pretending to measure in this report, which will drive us to an excessive amount of information and to loads of work. We have the risk to lose focus on the most political and relevant issues related with the right to a quality education for all.

    In this respect, we agree with the comment introduced below by Harry Patrinos that defends that it may be helpful to focus on fewer and stronger links to sustainable development. After all, as Elina Lehtomaki and Hannu Savolainen emphasize, the effort of the report should be put more on strengthening the understanding of the connectedness rather than trying to measure it.

    Furthermore we believe that the political role of the report should be more emphasized in order not only to analyze how the world is progressing towards the goal of education but also analyzing if the different national and global policies that are being implemented go in the right direction.

    Although we welcome the section that pretend to follow the financial challenges that we have ahead, we believe that a more explicit approach should be given to the required progress on global governance and global fiscal policies. The right to education should not be founded on an international voluntary basis but on a fiscal scheme that guarantees that this right is completely fulfilled for all.

    In this respect, the most important link between sectors is the fact that simultaneously, and in many places around the world, public policies are shrinking due to a fierce competitiveness of estates for attracting capital. That is also the main obstacle that must be removed for sustainable development to take place, and this will only be tackled by the building of the right global agreements, institutions and fiscal policies. The report should focus on this critical issue.

    Finally, we would like to highlight some comments below that remind us the need to focus on some extremely vulnerable groups that have not been mentioned in the concept note:
    – People with disabilities (underlined by Prof. Peter Mittler, Elina Lehtomaki and Hannu Savolainen)
    – The need to emphasize distant education specially if we are to reach rural people (defended by Shaheen Attiqur Rahman)
    – Digital illiterates, specially adults (pointed by Zeynep Varoglu)
    – The special vulnerability of migrants (critical point stressed by Hans Krönner)
    – Children in conflict areas (emphasized by Mary Aguirre-Shahin)

    Thanks a lot.
    Lucía Rodríguez
    (Fe y Alegría)


  6. Kadidia V. Doumbia, Specialist in Gender and Education & Director-at-Large, International Society for Language Studies, Excelsior College

    Most African countries, are poor countries whatever the vocabulary used to designate them. Consequently, the majority of the population is uneducated. For them to reach an acceptable equilibrium for economic growth non-formal education is the path.
    Firstly, vocational training will give a chance to a large portion of the population to acquire the skills necessary for their survival and full integration into the society.

    Secondly, it will alleviate discrimination between those who have access to formal education and the rest who could not, and it will also be a way to reduce the social gap due to gender discrimination. Women and especially girls who often are out of school at an early stage of their lives or never had a chance to attend it may be given the opportunity to fulfill their lives and defend their tights in paternalistic societies. As we acknowledge the fact that more and more women because of various circumstances find themselves in charge of the household need to have the necessary means to fulfill their duties.

    Financial independence and the opportunity to contribute to the society are the keys for full citizenship.

    Education allows people to have an open mind by being exposed to various information and it also helps the process leading to critical thinking; thus, making it easier to discuss deep and serious societal issues that otherwise would have been taboo subjects.

    Gender issues and concepts are some of them, social and cultural discrimination are also slowing the development of many countries especially when and where the authorities are not capable of explaining, discussing and implementing new social rules for the betterment of the whole population.

    Lifelong learning is the new concept discussed but is not a new approach. Lifelong learning is part of every individual’s life and is called maturity. Maturity in personal and professional activities to improve oneself and give back to the society.

    “The education of a man is never completed until he dies.” – Robert E. Lee


  7. Mary Aguirre-Shahin, Esq

    I believe the 2016 report should focus on strategies to educate children in conflict and post conflict zones- how will the children be educated in Eastern Ukraine, Syria and Afghanistan, for example? Aid agencies should set up schools ( not tents) for these children in cluster areas with high populations of children and organize teachers without borders.


  8. Elina Lehtomaki and Hannu Savolainen, University of Jyvaskyla, Finland

    The concept note for GMR 2016 is comprehensive, covers education form a wide perspective and clearly shows the essential connection between education and sustainable development.

    Why the GMR team uses the word ‘authoritative’ in the first sentence of the concept paper. It seems contradictory in light of the role of the team and its report which are supposed to independently highlight progress and challenges in global education development. Additionally, UNESCO emphasizes collaboration, policy guidance and assistance in improving the quality of education.

    The UNESCO Institute of Statistics (UIS) compiles and analyzes data (statistics) provided by governments through their national education systems, and the UIS has significantly contributed to improving the data collection practices and the quality of data. However, the GMRs have hardly discussed the reliability of statistics used or pointed to the possible and real data manipulation in education systems, with the aim to satisfy people, politicians and donors. Therefore, it would be useful for GMR to be more critical and compare data, information and research reports from different sources (use triangulation).

    What is meant by the term ‘non-quantitative’? In education research both quantitative and qualitative research approaches are recognized and used. Other types of knowledge and information (not research) can be referred to as ‘documents’ and ‘reports’.

    There is a risk that the broad scope introduced by the concept note may ignore some aspects which are important in realizing the goals of universality and equity in education:
    • The concept note states that WIDE provides new tools to assess inequality which is very important. More attention is required to equality in educational advancement. Statistics and policies can show general trends but usually fail to include e.g. processes, perspectives of students, teachers and stakeholders.
    • Equity requires a more detailed approach in evaluation and analysis of progress. The fact that many countries have succeed in ensuring access to (primary) education hides the reality that in the end it is quality of education that matters and contributes to the wider societal impacts of education. Furthermore, differences in the quality of education within and between countries deepen global inequities in education and society.
    • While collection of data for GMR relies on UIS collecting statistics from national information systems it should also take into account the academic research. GMR could benefit from systematic reviews of studies on education that provide detailed insights on the situation on the ground. Such analyses could be carried out to evaluate how strong the statistical evidence for the conclusions received is, an approach common to all systematic reviews in research.
    • The GMR should recognize the existing and prevailing marginalization and exclusion leading to increase levels of poverty. In February 2015 the UN General Assembly discusses the SDGs, including the issue of persons with disabilities, estimated to be the most marginalized group in society see http://www.un.org/disabilities/default.asp?id=1618). Lack of education significantly contributes to increase poverty among persons with disabilities and their families and communities. Therefore, in the next series of reports the GMR team must pay attention to this extremely vulnerable group.
    • Monitoring relationships across sectors may not be the most important task of the GMR but rather, strengthening understanding of the connectedness and enhancing the position of education sector in the global SDG agenda and monitoring. Due to economic reasons education has become more global than ever before but still culture plays an important role in defining the relevance and meaning in local (national) contexts. Culture is missing in the list of patterns that ‘impact education’. This also begs a question how does education impact culture or would it be more appropriate to discuss collaboration and influence between education and other sectors.
    • Social justice, inclusive communities and inclusive societies are mentioned. The next report(s) needs to show how education can be transformed to be inclusive, creating a basis for these wider goals.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Kentaro Fukuchi

    I’m grateful for this opportunity.

    To bridge the gap between policy and implementation, it would be effective to analyze which donor is investing on which goal or area such as equity, lifelong learning or learning outcome. As research from the Results UK shows that implementing the policy for inclusive education is the next step to take, it is vital to identify how much resource is really mobilized and implemented in order to achieve each goal.

    Otherwise, every party would invest on something easy, clear and measurable, and the new emerged agenda such as inclusion, sustainability and global citizenship would be easily ignored.

    The topic itself is already mentioned in the concept note but it seems to focus more on each government rather than the international donors. So my proposal is to expand the scope of the analysis to the international donors.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Javier Collado Ruano, Director of Edition at Global Education Magazine

    The article “Global Citizenship Education and Sustainable Development Goals: A Transdisciplinary and Biomimetic Perspective” (http://bit.ly/1I9Pm2a) is relevant to the 2016 consultation because it studies the bridges between education and sustainability in the post-2015 Development Agenda. Reading the concept note, we could add current innovative study in the point 4, where there are questions regarding the policies, programs, and strategies to reinforce lies between education and sustainability. This is a visionary approach to create new educational programs with transdisciplinary and biomimetic approach in order to create a new sustainable society with healthy consumption habits and practices.

    As it can be read in the same abstract: This article reflects on Global Citizenship Education (GCED) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), both in the post-2015 Development Agenda led by the United Nations. The work is based on the transdisciplinary approach and the principle of biomimicry in order to strengthen the links between education and sustainability through symbiotic links between nature and human culture. The concept of biomimicry seeks to understand the operation principles of life in order to mimic nature in the reformulation of new sustainable human production systems with the biosphere. In this sense, the study offers an important opportunity for the emerging global citizenship to change the rules and introduce the foundations of another model of production and consumption. It is, in short, innovative research that seeks to integrate eco-ethics as a pedagogical practice in the implementation of the GCED: identifying the vital asises that constitute the interdependence of ecosystems to make a biomimetic application in social, political, and educational structures of human system.


  11. International Society For Education Through Art

    InSEA Response to 2016 Education Report

    As members of the International Society for Education through Art (InSEA) we applaud and
    support the enormously ambitious task of developing ‘Education, Sustainability and the Post-
    2015 Development Agenda’, the 2016 Education Report. As art educators from many nations, we
    have noticed increasing foci on innovative technologies as a curricular focus, while critical
    examinations of ethics regarding the global ramifications of innovation for the ‘sheer joy of
    making something new’ are often overlooked. While technology has the potential to solve many
    problems in a world of vast inequities and strife, we advocate for the arts as equally important to
    bringing about ecological stability, social justice, and the sustainability of globally diverse
    cultures and nations.
    InSEA began following WWII, as an affiliate of UNESCO, based on the philosophical notions
    that the arts have humanizing affects upon people. It is our experience that art education has
    power to bring about internal self reflection, empathic appreciation of human diversity, and
    respect for differing worldviews among groups of people. Through the arts, students may be
    taught to honor themselves and their unique places in world cultural traditions, while also
    critically examining how to harmonize their own deeply held beliefs with the worldviews of
    others. Through art education, communities of young and old may be guided to respond to
    ideological, cultural, and geographical differences with tolerance, appreciation, and respect.
    These are basic dispositions necessary for creating global harmony among nations, establishing
    and maintaining sustainable human societies and maintaining an ecologically balanced
    environments. Therefore, we advocate for strong art educational programs, practices and policies
    for children and adults in all nations of the world.
    As you explore ‘New Concepts and Changing Emphases in the Post 2015 Era”, we would hope
    that you might look at the trends of divorcing sciences and technology from the arts and
    humanities. Then, compare the results of curricula that overemphasize technological sciences to
    the detriment of the arts and humanities with curricula that value both disciplines equally.
    As you examine ‘Financing Issues and Challenges’, we urge you to consider and question the
    agenda of funders, because what educational policies and initiatives get funded impacts more than
    the economic sustainability of regions and nations. If money is poured into technological
    sciences, for example, while libraries, art, or arts and humanities programs are stripped of spaces,
    resources, and teacher experts within schools, what are the ramifications for holistically
    (cognitional, emotional, physical and spiritual) educated youth? What might be the end result of
    peoples who know only to compete for financially lucrative careers that drive national market
    superiority, without concern for the intrinsically meaningfulness of life? What is the potential end
    goal of education geared to develop mere ‘workers’ that nations and corporations may be
    enriched, while generations of youth lack knowledge of histories that inform who we are where
    we have been as a human race, or who are not encouraged to think critically about how we might
    live together harmoniously?
    In short, we would hope there might be an investigation, not only of who is being taught and how
    education is funded, but also at which disciplines are being covered and which are missing or
    given only minimal attention in educational curricula within formal and non-formal settings.
    These educational decisions have deep consequences for ‘Gender Equity and Empowerment’:
    ‘Preserving the Environment and Eco-system’: and how ‘Peaceful and Inclusive Societies are and
    how Human Rights are Honored’.


  12. Prabhat Misra (@prabhatmisra)

    We are living in a world which is under “transition and transformation phase” of energy and facing the problem of Climate Change. So, we must develop a better and natural “GHG Sink system” to achieve 350 ppm CO2 level in the atmosphere. Trees are “Best Natural Sinks” of CO2 and will be helpful to tackle with Climate Change. World Community should keep one fundamental rule, while making any planning, that, “United We” can save earth from Climate Change, through “peoples participatory” grass root level awareness movements. This is MUST to save our beautiful Earth from Climate Change for our future generations to come.

    One such grass root level “peoples participatory” movement is “Red Tape movement” which is making society to aware about environment and sustainability by protecting trees and bio-diversity. This movement will be helpful in sustainable development, biodiversity conservation, water conservation, soil conservation and biosequestration. One of the big achievement of this movement was when the students of Elgin High School, Elgin, IL, USA, participated in it on August 23, 2014 [ http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20140815/news/140818960/ & http://prabhatmisra.tumblr.com/post/95999351743/from-etawah-to-elgin-usa-journey-of-red-tape ]. This movement is also the part of UNFCCC’s Climate Change Information Network, also known as CC:iNet: http://unfccc.int/cc_inet/cc_inet/six_elements/public_participation/items/3530.php?displayPool=1526.

    My suggestion is that make this movement a part of students extra curricular activities to learn them sustainability and environment conservation.


    Prabhat Misra
    Assistant Director, National Savings/
    Founder of “Red Tape Movement”
    District- Etawah, Province- Uttar Pradesh, India.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. John Alosias, Int'l Student, VSU

    I was impressed by the plan for the anticipated sustainable development goal and the individual and/or group contributions.

    With the efforts to recognize a lifelong learning approach and learning opportunities, as indicated, I’m hoping the plan will address the different challenges facing one region versus another. Most schools in developing nations don’t have good learning environment due to lack of basic services such as water, food, clinics, and library. For instance, students struggling with their meal plans, in public schools, pay less attention to lessons. In addition, some parents can’t afford to provide their kids with school materials such as books and uniforms among others. These gaps can be addressed by assisting schools to establish a school-meal plan to help poor students focus on lessons and an in-school-clinic for immediate responses to students’ health problems. Likewise, these selected schools can be supported to provide an in-school-library for students to access additional reading materials. Selection of schools for implementation of these suggestions is crucial for a long term plan for sustainable education in the 3rd world. Priority should be given to public schools rather than private schools because majority of kids in public schools came from poor families, and these schools had low performances. In this way, the plan will enhance opportunities for ready-to-learn students who are not only struggling to improve their performances but those with unconducive learning environment in their homes.

    Note: I may not agree or stand with an idea to establish new school(s) because I simply wanted efforts be devoted to address challenges in the existing schools.


  14. Stellan Arvidsson Hyving, Senior Policy Specialist – Education Policy Support unit Department for International Organisations and Policy Support Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida)

    The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) strongly welcome the focus of the 2016 Report as discussed and agreed upon during the last Board meeting:

    We have consulted the Sida network on Education and skills development and colleagues from non-education sectors and would like to share our views to help develop the forthcoming 2016 Education Report: Education, sustainability and the post-2015 development agenda.

    • The theme of the 2016 Education Report is most relevant and the concept note argues well regarding the integration of education in all initiatives related to sustainability. The paper is coherent and well-thought-out.
    • We appreciate that the report will look into financial issues also related to resources (efficiency and effectiveness). The inefficiency of education systems ends up in poor quality education.
    • It is important to thoroughly discuss and critically reflect on the role of the private sector within education. This report should not only accept, but also problematize the usefulness of including the private sector and private stakeholders in financing of education.
    • We support a thorough discussion on the importance (and challenges) of learner centred education. There is sometimes a tendency to exclusively stress the importance of teachers. The importance of the learner as an active actor should be highlighted, perhaps together with an overview of different pedagogical perspectives on the learning process.
    • We appreciate if the report highlights and analyzes the significance and content in a critical and constructive local ownership, including issues related to urbanization.
    • Regarding the intersectoral relationship between education and other sectors, we suggest the report should explore the bidirectional interaction between education and other sectors, e.g. why education is important for health and why health is important for education and more specifically identify strategically important areas within sectors to maximize the impact.
    • An even stronger emphasis on nutrition related to food security is appreciated.
    • Sida has taken part in the discussion within UNGEI on the section dealing with Gender equality and empowerment and we echo the comments sent by UNGEI.
    • Regarding Urban development and infrastructure, including ICT we recommend more emphasis on social development with social mobility and reduced inequality. Social development is the core of what we do in education, with direct connection to human rights.
    • In the section on Peaceful and inclusive societies with a focus on human rights we also would like to see a stronger emphasis on social development and inclusive and peaceful societies.
    • Some concepts within the same section could be more precise with reference to a Human Rights Based Approach (see track-changes in attached document).
    • We strongly advocate for a section related to inclusive economic growth, including issues such as private sector development, trade.
    • Sida also request a section on issues related to employment and employability.

    In the appendix we have suggested a few changes in the concept note.

    Sida is prepared to provide additional information on interventions to be presented in the report within nutrition, health, ICT, gender equality etc. if needed.


    Urban development and infrastructure, including ICT: Urban development requires special attention as cities are centres of productivity and opportunity, and the majority of the world’s population now lives in urban areas. The 2016 report will examine key themes linking urban development and education, such as role that cities can play in sustainable development and environmental innovation, with their concentration of individuals with higher education. It will assess the role of universities and research institutions in large urban areas for economic innovation and the extent to which urban planners and policymakers can harness educational institutions planning more sustainable cities. The report will argue that creating urban areas that are networked ‘knowledge hubs’ with socially and environmentally conscious citizens needs to start from the inclusion of Education for Sustainable Development in pre-primary and primary schools.

    The report will also examine the theme of inequity, for example in the differences in types and levels of skills attained in urban, peri-urban and rural locations. Inequalities of access, wealth and power within cities and between urban and rural areas can be exacerbated by and through education. One of the biggest constraints to achieving education and lifelong learning is a lack of adequate facilities and infrastructure. Amenities such as roads and public transport, clean water sources, usable gender-separated toilets, electricity and other efficient energy sources, are of huge importance for creating safe, healthy and secure environments that enable learning and increase school attendance, particularly for girls.

    The 2016 report will also critically examine ICT’s role in creating, disseminating and sharing knowledge, resulting in increased social mobility and reduced inequalities. As a result of post-2015 developments, ICT tools are being developed and envisioned to improve education, further global collaboration and awareness building in the field of human rights, and use real-time data collection for monitoring and programme implementation.

    Peaceful and inclusive societies with a focus on human rights: The 2016 Report will pay particular attention to the influence of education on the development of more participatory, peaceful, inclusive and socially cohesive societies, based on the rule of law, which safeguard the civil rights (Why only civil rights? Why not human rights) of all individuals and groups. Peaceful and inclusive societies are more likely to expand and sustain equitable educational opportunities. Armed violence, child exploitation, sexual abuse and human trafficking are examples of contexts that undermine the ability of individuals to exercise their basic human rights, including to education. In some recent instances, schools, teachers and students have been targeted by armed groups. The promotion of human rights through education, laws and policies facilitates social development and peaceful societies and helps safeguard the rights of women, children and discriminated and marginalized groups. Freedom of expression works as a safeguard for amplifying issues related to other basic human rights.

    Human rights education promotes the values and norms (and beliefs???) of human rights and can start with formal schooling. At the same time, increased access to secondary and higher education can contribute to the development of a critical mass of educated citizens, leaders and communities that can identify and address human rights abuses in their professions and through advocacy work. Education can strengthen human rights by increasing public participation in decision making, facilitating access to justice (legal recourse??) and fighting against inequality. It can contribute to people becoming aware of their rights and holding duty bearers to account (standing up for their rights??) and those of others, self-organizing, engaging in peaceful resistance and demanding greater social justice. Education about citizens right to information can strengthen possibilities for increased social participation.

    The 2016 report will examine a range of issues related to social development and inclusive communities, including good governance, protest (is protest the right word? What about advocacy, watch dog function, work by HR defenders, actors of democratisation) and safety (meaning what?). Good governance is a key factor in the promotion of a peaceful and just society. Effective and equitable governance require an educated citizenry. Effective governance requires broad competencies and flexibility, built on a foundation of basic education and science literacy and includes the ability of institutions to engage and resolve problems, engage in long-term planning for sustainable development, have structures for transparency and information in place, and collaborate across sectors.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Britta Malinski, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)

    Thank you for developing and sharing the concept note.

    We (GIZ Education Section) would like to share two sources which may be of interest for your team when developing the 2016 Report. One is a study conducted on behalf of BMZ on the gender topic, the other source is an approach we would like to share, that successfully highlights the inter-relation between education and health. Both topics are part of the proposed concept note.

    • Study: „Reasons for Discrimination of Girls and Boys with regard to Access to and Retention in Primary and Secondary Education“
    The desk study examines the countries Malawi, Mozambique, Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kosovo, Guatemala, Honduras as well as Guinea and summarizes the results for each country. In the appendix gender-parity-indices of the most relevant education indicators for all cooperation countries of the BMZ are shown in graphs together with a table with the respective figures. It gives a quick overview on one page of the development of the last ten years for each country. Further it contains a large bibliography with English, French, Spanish, Portuguese and German publications that were found during the desk-study and might be helpful for further research.

    • The Fit for School Approach
    Fit for School is a simple, sustainable and scalable approach promoting healthy habits in healthy learning environments to allow children to make the most out of their education through better health. The approach applies principles of schoolbased management to support the implementation of daily handwashing and toothbrushing and regular deworming to address high-impact diseases. On behalf of BMZ, GIZ is implementing Fit for School since 2008. Please find further information here:

    If required, we are happy to provide more Information.


  16. Rehema White

    Response to the 2016 Education Report consultation: education, sustainability and the post-2015 development agenda

    Consultation to help develop the forthcoming 2016 Education report

    Learning for sustainability – a Scottish perspective

    An introduction to Learning for Sustainability Scotland
    Scotland has always been rightly proud of an international reputation for excellence in education, a generalist tradition, access of education across socio-economic divisions and support for outdoor and experiential learning. In the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (UN DESD), Scotland made significant progress towards what we have termed learning for sustainability. Towards the end of the UN DESD, Scotland reflected on how it might retain the momentum of this focus. In December 2012 we established a UN recognised Regional Centre of Expertise in Education for Sustainable Development, a network organisation with a wide and growing membership (currently more than 280 organisations and individuals) that, in line with relevant policy developments, we titled Learning for Sustainability Scotland (LfSS).

    LfSS works to harness the full potential of learning to create a flourishing, sustainable world; where communities value the natural environment; societies are inclusive, equitable and peaceful; and a vibrant economy contributes to flourishing ecosystems. A small secretariat, guided by an elected Steering Group, catalyses activity and exchange across network members. Whilst maintaining a high profile for learning for sustainability within the country, LfSS seeks to offer resources and membership networking nationally and internationally, to generate new knowledge and approaches, to advise on policy development and implementation and to widen the debate on learning for sustainability beyond sympathetic supporters into new or challenging areas. More information can be found at: http://learningforsustainabilityscotland.org

    This consultation response was developed through discussion in the Steering Group of Learning for Sustainability Scotland. LfSS broadly welcomes the concept note developed to inform the forthcoming 2016 Education Report. At this stage, we offer some general comments to inform the direction of this report.

    Education for sustainable development is excellent education
    We welcome the focus on education and sustainability as an instrumental mechanism to explore and deliver on the emerging Sustainable Development Goals. Additional to this we urge the GMR team to consider the relationship between ‘excellent education’ and ‘education for sustainable development’. During the UN DESD, a study across a number of countries concluded that there was evidence that the implementation of education for sustainable development enhanced the overall quality of education, partly through a focus on pedagogical strengths such as real world issues, holistic thinking and out of classroom learning. An emphasis on critical thinking was also important.

    Pedagogy and curriculum
    Education for sustainable development considers a wide range of issues of local and global sustainability relevance, including topics and curricular content relevant to all subject areas and academic disciplines. However, just as critical is the form of learning or pedagogy, in which we strive often for third, or at least second order learning, transformative learning, mutual teacher-student learning and dialogical modes of engagement. In Scotland we have a tradition of outdoor and experiential learning; a recognition of the practical as well as the theoretical, as promoted by Geddes through ‘head, hand and heart’. We thus plead that the monitoring established include reference to pedagogies employed as well as curriculum.

    Wider scoping and cross sectoral engagement for learning for sustainability
    We welcome the notion of education for sustainable development as being ‘lifelong learning’ and not merely within formal education. However, we would like to widen the scope of this notion even further. In Scotland we acknowledge formal (e.g. schools, colleges, universities), non-formal (e.g. communities, business) and informal (e.g. social norms, media influence) forms of learning for sustainability. Scotland has always recognised the importance of ‘community’ in establishing a flourishing society. Learning for sustainability in communities enables the release of existing capacity; empowerment; articulation of ideas and collective action for a better future through grassroots mobilization. Learning for sustainability is also a part of the remaking of our economic systems, towards ethical and responsible businesses and the revitalisation of social enterprise. And learning for sustainability is part of the informal process of awareness by which individuals gather information and develop their attitudes and behaviours; influenced by the media, by peers and by cultural norms as well as by more formal education processes. We thus consider that global monitoring of education for sustainability will have to seek evidence of learning not only in formal education sectors but also in other sectors, such as government itself, communities, business and the media and across sectors.

    Qualitative, reflexive and empowering monitoring processes
    Whilst many policy makers prefer to make decisions based on quantitative data, we recognise the value of qualitative data to contribute rich, deep understanding. Whilst respecting the skills and experience of the monitoring team, we thus request that the use of qualitative data, narratives, case studies and creative methods of monitoring be considered as valuable as statistically comparable quantitative data. We also recognise the potential of a monitoring and evaluation process to support and guide a cycle of visioning, goal setting and implementation and to reinforce a learning process. We thus also request that at least some of the monitoring be designed to enable reflection, empowerment and engagement of participants.

    Systems approaches versus audit culture
    Given the focus on financial efficiency of educational departments and on governance systems, we would request acknowledgement of systems approaches (including systems thinking, socio-ecological systems understanding, holistic framing and futures thinking) to support ‘joined up’ values driven governance rather than a tick box audit culture. We do still acknowledge the importance of SMART targets in certain contexts.

    In conclusion, we support and welcome a global Education Report focusing on sustainability and the post 2015 development agenda, but we suggest that the principles and practices of education for sustainable development be considered in its implementation. We would be happy to offer further comment as required.

    Dr Rehema White, Chair of the Steering Group of Learning for Sustainability Scotland
    28th January 2015


  17. Mairi Kershaw - Chair, South West Learning for Sustainability Coalition

    A SWLFSC response to UNESCO’s Concept note for a 2016 report on Education, sustainability and the post-2015 development agenda (Prepared by the EFA GMR team, UNESCO Headquarters, Paris, 2 December 2014)

    The concept note:
    Outlining post 2015 reporting mechanisms following on from the Education For All (EFA) Global Monitoring Programme (GMP), the concept note details how the post-2015 education goal (and other education indicators relevant to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)) will be monitored. Like the GMP, in addition to the annual report of agreed metrics, each report will identify a special theme and the concept note proposes that 2016 opens with ‘education, sustainability and the post-2015 development agenda’.

    The South West Learning For Sustainability Coalition (SWLFSC):
    This network formed in 2005 focusing initially on England’s Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) Strategy. Coalition members have participated in most subsequent national and international incarnations of sustainability learning . We have five comments:

    1. The opening section proposes explanations of the genesis of EfS (Education for Sustainability) and ESD. Explicit reference to their convergence and divergence with EFA would ground new work streams in both.

    2. The retention of new metrics arising from the Open Working Group (OWG) and Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) may help shape future ESD pedagogy.

    3. The SDGs will be universal, with countries allowed to determine relevant targets. Could targets and metrics also be determined at the regional level allowing differentiation between rural and urban issues?

    4. The Future We Want (TFWW) determined that poverty eradication must occur in the context of sustainable development. Are poverty and its relevant implications like youth unemployment (and underemployment) prioritised? Most particularly, a highlighting of potential education interventions in the post-2015 Development agenda would add value.

    5. Could the report usefully refer to other emerging concepts such as ‘planetary boundaries’ or ‘natural capital’, alongside the rights-based language of the MDGs to reinforce the new SDG trajectory?

    Without underestimating the complexity of aligning post MDG and EFA processes, through the nine forthcoming intergovernmental negotiations in New York (January – July 2015) the SWLFSC celebrates the emergence of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.


  18. Anna M. Vernia, President of SEM-EE (Society for Music Education's Spanish)

    As president of the SEM-EE (Society for Music Education State Spanish) since 2013 we have been developing various initiatives such as congresses, conferences, meetings and seminars, gathering information and scientific research supporting the importance of music education in the official curriculum and compulsory for all stages of life.

    In some regions of the Spanish territory already are developing innovative educational projects that corroborate the importance of music in people, fighting school failure in children and adolescents or motivating and encouraging personal and social skills in adults, with results supporting such projects. Therefore it is worth analyzing the situation of those countries that have eliminated all or part of arts education in your general education, to be re-include.

    Moreover, musical training should not be limited to prepare interpreters or teachers, because today, research from music are a social good that can help have a healthier and rejuvenated population. Diseases we suffer in the world and in the environment of the elderly, such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s or customary falls can be fought from the musical practice. Methods such as the pedagogue JE Dalcroze, are already used in Geneva to combat falls. In Spain, this methodology has also beginning to be used (in Spain) to combat and prevent Alzheimer’s.

    Music Education from an early age and his offer in middle and advanced age, means a population whose physical and cognitive status will be more efficient for a developed country, but still be more better to countries whose situation demands other vital needs such as water, medicine or food. The strengths of a country are two Health and Education, therefore, the governments should invest in these pillars and understand music as the backbone of a healthy and powerful education.

    Moreover, it is important to note the figure of the specialist responsible for the musical education at different stages of formal and nonformal education. It need to be carried out and consensus the regulations allowing specialist perform the role it deserves and dont leave the music education would be taught by generalist teachers.

    Deputy some documents in English and Spanish that can help promote music education as a necessary good for a country.


  19. Wendy Kopp, CEO & Co-founder Teach For All

    Teach For All Comments on 2016 Education For All Global Monitoring Report Concept Note:

    Teach For All has come to believe in the vital role that developing strong local leadership capacity plays in creating a sustainable future for education for all children. We need leaders working at every level of our education system, in classrooms, schools, and school systems, at every level of government, and across sectors – in social services, economic development, nutrition and healthcare – who are committed to educational progress and have a grounded understanding of what it takes to succeed with children, particularly in the most marginalized settings. This is extremely important given that the problem of educational inequity is systemic and multi-faceted, and so there is no single solution that will eliminate it.

    In order to build leadership capacity and ensure sustainable progress for education in the most underserved communities of the world, more of each nations’ most educated, promising future leaders should gain first-hand experience in working with marginalized children and with the education system. This will ultimately promote a cross-sectorial approach, as leaders go into sectors that influence educational outcomes and institutionalize the countries’ commitment to equity in education.

    In order to ensure that the 2016 report highlights progress and strategies for building local leadership capacity, we suggest integrating the following ideas into the concept note:

    – New Concepts and Changing Emphases in the Post-2015 era
    We suggest incorporating the idea that a strong commitment to recruiting and developing leaders for expanding educational opportunity is vital to sustainable progress in education in the most under-served areas. Unfortunately, it’s a rare country that leverages its talent toward expanding educational opportunity and reducing disparities for the most marginalized children. While there are many committed, talented people working now in classrooms and schools around the world, industries like law, finance, and technology still claim far more of the most qualified and promising leaders than does education. In the post-2015 era, increasing local leadership capacity will be essential to driving continued progress toward quality education for all.

    – Education, sustainability and the post-2015 development agenda
    As one concrete answer to the question posed in the report about what policies, programs and strategies effectively strengthen links between education and sustainability, we suggest highlighting the benefits of given more of nations’ most educated, promising future leaders first-hand experience in working with marginalized children. This strategy promotes the kind of cross-sectoral approach the report is advocating to institutionalize the commitment to educational equity. As part of this, you could consider featuring the approach of Teach For All, whose partners enlist outstanding individuals of all career interests in committing two years to teach in high-need communities. Our approach has proven to increase the pipeline of educational leaders for marginalized children while also generating a force of leaders who will ultimately bring to other sectors their understanding of the power of education and the needs of marginalized children.


  20. Clinton Robinson

    Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the shape of the 2016 report.
    The scope of the report is huge, addressing fundamental questions of education and development and delving into specific themes (gender, ICTs, peace and inclusion), each of which would need a report of its own. Nevertheless, there is merit, at this juncture of debate, to address the links between education and sustainable development – a bold, necessary, important and welcome initiative. Some comments:
    1. The concept note uses both ‘sustainable development’ and ‘sustainability’, but the reasons for selecting one or the other are not clear. This is important because the post-2015 agenda is about sustainable development, not only about sustainability. Debates about sustainable development (SD) over the last decade or more have necessarily sought to define and promote the sustainable aspect of development, as the impacts of existing development patterns have become starkly evident. As a result, there has been relatively less attention given to the processes of development (socio-economic change) as such. This has somewhat downplayed the fact that people (=all of us) wish to develop in their lives and societies – a key motivation for pursuing education. In order to clarify the linkages between education and SD, the report proposes to examine the evolving nature of the SD concept, and will need to address both parts: what kinds of development are being pursued, and how do the purposes and modes of development have to change to become sustainable? This will require the report to look at models of development, particularly in the light of the unsustainability of high-consumption patterns and the ambiguities of ‘growth’.
    2. The concept note makes it clear in a number of places that it will address the two-way relationship between education and sustainable development: the reciprocal impacts of one on the other. It is important to maintain this balance (or tension) throughout the report as it is key to the larger debate.
    3. The concept note proposes the bold initiative of identifying ‘the most appropriate indicators to measure success’ of intersectoral linkages between education and sustainable development. The emphasis on such linkages is welcome, though complex, as the note also says. In looking at this area, concepts such as ownership and participation, values and identity, and cultural patterns play an important part in the way people pursue and manage change and thus in the implementation of the sustainable development agenda. These concepts are also fundamental in education. What kinds of indicators might be developed to account for these dimensions?
    4. The 2016 report will aim to ‘map and extract lessons from national monitoring and assessment initiatives’ in education. It will also need to connect with broader development assessments such as HDI in order to show links between educational progress and (sustainable) development.
    5. It is indicated at one point that the report will ‘focus on national education systems’, while elsewhere the scope is expressed in a much broader way ‘…beyond basic schooling, to address basic needs for livelihood and life, with broader purposes…’ This broader approach is appropriate in discussing links between education and SD – some aspects will fall on the margins or outside the national systems, but should also be captured.
    6. There is a reference to including ‘informal learning’ in the report (in distinction to formal and non-formal). This should indeed be mentioned, but by nature it cannot be monitored, since it occurs in all circumstances of daily life. To present a flavour of such learning, one approach might be to seek to find out what a sample of people feel they have learnt through informal learning and how they learnt it, although results could not be generalised.
    7. Discussion of financing – or better, ‘resourcing’ since people and capacity are also essential elements – would be better discussed after, rather than before, the main debate on education and sustainable development and the specific themes. Given the large scope of these issues, the section on resourcing could be reduced in this report, in order to give centre stage to the larger conceptual messages. Reference to ‘marginalized populations’ occurs only in the financing section – it needs to be included the sections referring to equity and the policies required to promote it.
    8. On financing, the report proposes to ‘move away from the narrow issue of resource mobilization…’ and this is very welcome. Financing is only part of the issue with regard to using resources effectively to deliver quality learning – teacher performance, school management and many other aspects are also crucial (and not dependent only on levels of financing). Could the report include these aspects in a discussion of the effective use of resources?
    9. The concept note makes use of the term ‘literacy’ in two different ways, which it will be important to explain. ‘Literacy’ as the use of written communication, on the one hand, and as a metaphor for ‘basic competence’ on the other (as in health/financial/science literacy).


  21. tomsalmon

    Consultation with a broad focus is helpful and would throw light on how the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) can also contribute to a vision for education for the future. Even if it is an incomplete vision, we can learn much from seeking to look forward first and work back from those ideas. The opportunity to explore the complex interrelationships and links between education and sustainability will point us to key political priorities for the SDG’s like food security, water and sanitation, energy, urbanisation, industrialisation and consumption. However, by taking these as substantive single issues for education alone we risk overlooking the pathways that different societies of the future will need to choose to address these problems through their own vision, innovation and strategy in an interconnected world. Instead we should look for those with the vision and innovation to leverage education to break down these problems in their own ways. It is also not to say that a homogenous notion of complexity is not useful for articulating a vision, but that we should be respectful to steer clear of predetermining the mechanisms when we seek to establish the goals for education here. Notions of complexity such as that proposed by agencies such as the UNDP in its 2014 report with the concept of ‘human vulnerability‘ as a paradigm of complexity for development in the future also take a far more critical stance on questions about inequality and fragility, which should not be ignored. The prospects post-2015, particularly for development and growth eroding people’s capabilities and choices, demand that we consider how a sustained enhancement of individuals’ and societies’ capabilities can be made with particular focus on education alongside collective action and transformative change in societies of all kinds. Concerns about questions about the links between education and peace, education and technology, education and innovation and education and skills are also important drivers of change behind the substative issues raised by the SDG’s. In short, if we are to articulate a vision for the future through education we must not fall short of demanding a quality of education which seeks to deliver that vision, taking the voice of youth as its departure point as the citizens of that future themselves.


  22. Mike G

    Thanks to the team for producing EFA GMR, and for the opportunity to respond.

    Some good comments above.

    The Concept Note states:

    “The 2016 report will move away from the narrow issue of resource mobilization to ask how existing resources can be made to go further.”


    “The 2016 Report will….continue to report on progress in key outcome indicators that will continue to be developed in the coming years.”

    I appreciate this line of thinking.

    From our vantage point at Bridge International Academies, these 2 sentences can be connected with 3 words: measuring student growth.

    No developing country measures student growth. It’s still “the old way”: the test scores reported are absolute. But absolute test scores always captures 2 things: a child’s starting point (family background) and what he or she learned in school. Isolating the second variable — only what she learned in school — is a statistics revolution in much of the West. Student growth allows one to ponder all sorts of important new questions about teacher quality, curriculum, ICT, school choice, and so forth. It allows policymakers to genuinely achieve the goal of answering “how existing resources can be made to go further. ”

    Let me give 2 brief examples from Bridge International Academies.

    1. One way we now measure teachers is through their student growth — the gains made each year. After various statistical controls, we’re able to notice some “star teachers” — those whose pupils make amazing gains. Then we send observers to study and interview those teachers. The result is an effort to distill some high-leverage behaviours, that we can in turn use for training all of our teachers.

    2. Given large student to teacher ratios in the developing world, one often asks: how can children get more 1:1 help? Bridge is piloting a new effort here, where older children (Class 6, 5, etc in Kenya) spend 40 minutes per day tutoring pupils who are 5 years younger in math. We’re studying it as a randomized control trial, overseen by a scholar at JPAL. If it works, we’ll share the best practice with the education community and expand it further to more of our pupils. If it doesn’t, we’ll try to refine our approach, or consider another productive way to use that time. Without meausring student growth, however, we’d be stuck doing what most decision-makers do — making decisions without good quantitative data, and using qualitative data only.

    Student growth works best when the government collects and provides the data, like most states in the USA. Usually it is done annually. (At Bridge we use standardized baseline and end term exams). Absent such government collected data, Bridge uses our own resources to hire outsiders to generate this data.

    Link here. http://www.bridgeinternationalacademies.com/results/academic/

    The Michael and Susan Dell Foundation recently published a paper called “A Framework for Program Assessments.” It’s about how they have built a student growth approach for all of their grantees in India. This allows them to compare their education investments and learn which help students the most.

    Link here. http://public.cdn.msdf.org/Framework_For_Program_Assessments_WP_12_2014.pdf

    A role precisely for UNESCO would be to drive the increased use of student growth metrics, making them easily obtained by practitioners and policymakers alike, to drive better decision-making.

    – Mike Goldstein, CAO, Bridge International Academies


  23. Sujatha Muthayya

    “It would be interesting and equally critical to link spending per child and learning outcomes and evolve a quantifiable way of examining the efficacy of educating children.

    To elaborate, it would be interesting to examine how per child expenditure is calculated. In India, current per child expenditure is arrived at by dividing recurring expenditure by the number of enrolled students. Are there more robust ways of calculating? How can we arrive at standardized ways to calculating per child expenditure – across state and market driven models and across countries.

    The next point I would like to elaborate on is assessing learning outcomes. What are the different initiatives like the Global Compact for Learning doing to meet the need for standardized assessments? How can consensus amongst stakeholders be built for children to be assessed against global benchmarks annually?

    Finally, to find an efficacious way of assessing a model through linking spending per child and learning achievements? In the context of educating the underserved communities, how do low fee schools measure up against learning outcomes per dollar?

    While there have been issues around quality with homegrown low fee school models that parents have chosen to pay into, how do schools chains perform? Will the economies of scale ensure true quality at a low cost?

    How can governments work with school chains to meet their goals of enrollment, retention and quality education for all? What is the future of public private partnerships to increase quality and access for families living in poverty? “


  24. Ryan Tracey

    I am pleased to see the broadening of the scope of the new GMR to encompass lifelong learning, as “education” extends beyond formal schooling.
    I am also pleased to see the consideration of innovative contents and curricula, though I urge the EFA GMR team to also consider innovative pedagogies – for example, the flipped classroom in the formal setting, and online Personal Learning Networks in the informal setting.
    Similarly, I am pleased to see coverage of the role of ICT in achieving education outcomes, but I caution against highlighting the role of ICT only in reducing inequalities. In communities in which some have access to the internet, or own a mobile device, while others do not, the gulf of inequity widens.


  25. Jim Teicher

    There is little evidence that either countries or the international community have substantially addressed the commitment to effectively use ICT in education for scalable implementation. My hope is the 2016 EFA GMR will directly address this concern.

    The promise of effective, scalable implementation of ICT in education rests on 3 key elements:

    1. implementing what we already know
    2. adopting improvements in ICT technologies
    3. addressing the social and political factors

    1. Implementing what we already know

    Since 2008, the UNESCO ICT Competency Framework for Teachers( http://goo.gl/2QLOlu) has clearly set forth both the policy framework and competency standards necessary to implement high quality ICT in support of education. These standards take a holistic and comprehensive approach to ICT, set forth exactly what is necessary to integrate ICT in meaningful ways. In addition to the Framework, UNESCO provides an extensive wealth of resources on its ICT in education website (http://goo.gl/UwwNJg). The 2016 EFA GMR should strongly reinforce the validity of these standards.

    2. Adopting improvements in ICT technologies

    If EFA goals and targets are to be met, it is imperative that new models for educational technology development be explored. Advanced learning technologies now allow us to reach schools without electricity. Schools that were previously unreachable can now be reached in highly saleable ways that also allow for efficient data collection. Given the rapid pace of technology advancements, the 2016 EFA GMR should not solely rely on existing case studies in this regard; but also be forward thinking.

    3. Addressing social and political factors

    Although the EFA GMR is not political in nature, it is essential for the report to review the progress of grassroots efforts. Only grass roots efforts can ensure technology solutions that address the real challenges identified at local levels. And only grass roots efforts can ensure the capacity for coordinated local leadership to affect sustainable solutions.

    Jim Teicher Director & CEO CyberSmart Africa


  26. Harry Patrinos

    • Though there is a continued need for the Global Monitoring Report and, from the World Bank’s perspective the publication should continue beyond 2015, the rationale provided at the beginning of the concept note could be strengthened. It is insufficient to only include support for continuation based on external evaluation and the Advisory Board. For instance, this section could detail readership (e.g., how many reports are published each year, who is using the GMR and for what purposes), results (e.g., how and where have these reports impacted the international development community), and perhaps more thoroughly detail lessons learned, beyond the enhancements of monitoring instruments.

    • In its present state, the concept note for the 2016 GMR could essentially describe several cycles of GMRs. It is very comprehensive, but I would recommend you narrow your focus at this stage on two key issues:
    o Learning outcomes and their measurement (which is a very tall order in and of itself)
    o What works to improve schooling outcomes
    – There is a huge empirical literature on this topic; I suggest you focus on the credible, rigorous evaluations and provide a thorough summary and analysis
    • The links to sustainable development seem forced at times, especially in regard to the section on Urban development and infrastructure, including ICT. It is now well-known that education has far-ranging positive effects, from health and nutrition, to increased productivity and economic growth. It may be helpful to focus on fewer, stronger linkages.

    • How can “required finances” be credibly estimated, especially when there are many low-cost means of improving education?
    • It would be beneficial to include a comprehensive summary of the spending that is currently taking place globally. The focus could then shift to innovative approaches in financing that can help the development community to meet the needs of the global education system.


  27. Guan, Jingning

    I am really looking forward for the 2016 report after read the concept note. I strongly agree with the idea that education can play an important role in achieving sustainable development. Not only formal education but also non-formal education can equip people with the necessary knowledge and change their attitude and behavior needed for achieving sustainability.

    I suggest to pay attention to learning communities’ roles in raising people’s awareness, improving knowledge and changing attitude and behavior. Those learning communities could be in schools, residence compounds, villages, and almost anywhere. People can get together periodically to learn knowledge and share experience. With more knowledge and support from the learning communities, people could gradually change their attitude and behavior towards sustainable development.

    During my master’s study at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, USA, I joined the Climate Knowledge Project, which gathers people together once a week to learn climate knowledge ,discuss what they learn from reading materials, and sharing personal experiences and feelings, aiming to promote climate knowledge learning through discussions. I conducted my own research on how discussions can promote professional development and lifelong learning in climate change and sustainability issues. The results show that students mostly would like to share their experiences during discussion and discussion really works well in raising awareness and causing changes in behavior and attitude.

    Also, TVET is important for achieving sustainable development , especially Greening TVET which teach student green skills and responsibility towards achieving sustainability.


  28. Osman Khan

    Schools should viewed more as community centers as opposed to buildings where classes take places for young people. They should blend the community and real world events with theoretical based learning, involving people in different career fields to give back and make an impact.

    Learning should be focused on the changing world, prioritizing sustainable development in all walks of fields, whether it is engineering, science, or business. Children should grow up learning how to get involved and make a difference in an entrepreneurial way, raising hands-on and well-rounded individual members of civil society.

    Students in higher grade levels can do more challenging projects, and give recommendations or carry out the work that will help the community or country. Giving students purpose in their education is extremely important. The news/media they read should focus on solutions to root causes such as instituting dialogue/understanding and projects that are being worked on to solve issues. This would be opposed to sensationalized reporting on negative events, that only foster more misunderstanding and anger.


  29. Prabhat Misra (@prabhatmisra)

    My views about forthcoming 2016 Report, ‘Education, sustainability and the post-2015 development agenda’ are mentioned below:

    Education can play important and effective role in ‘Global Sustainable Development’ through students at grass root level. Future of the Earth is in the hands of youths specially students & they can bring major changes in the society. My suggestion is that there should be a ‘Parliament of Students on Environment’ in each school and every student of that school should be the compulsory member of the parliament. They should be given right to discuss & pass resolution to make their institution ‘Green & Sustainable;’ this activity will give birth to the ‘real force of youths or green soldiers for the sustainable development.’

    One such event recently happened in the Indian district of Etawah of province Uttar Pradesh, where about 5000 students passed 15 recommendations as a resolution for ‘World Leaders’ through ‘Parliament of Students on Environment’ to protect environment, on Dec 03, 2014 & amongst these, eight recommendations were implemented in the district by the District Magistrate of Etawah Mr. Nitin Bansal.
    This concept & model of mock ‘Parliament of Students on Environment’ was developed by me & draft in co-operation with students. The complete story can be read at http://tmblr.co/ZeQ5Pu1X6Et0r.

    This is a great example of initiative at grass root level, by the students, for ‘Global Sustainable Development’ & to control ‘Climate Change.’


    Prabhat Misra,
    Assistant Director- National Savings,
    District- Etawah, U.P., India/
    Organizer of ‘Etawah Parliament of Students on Environment’/
    Founder of ‘Red Tape Movement’
    [ http://www.twitter.com/redtapemovement & http://ow.ly/sDIsV ]


  30. Hans Krönner, InterVoc

    Thank you for sharing the Concept Note for a 2016 report.

    There are three considerations that I would like to share with you:
    1. Is international migration – in particular brain drain – a dimension that should be considered in future reports? There seems to be increasing brain drain, e.g. from African countries towards Europe, from Bangladesh and the Philippines to Gulf states, from Latin America towards the USA, from Eastern Europe to Western Europe. Poor countries in particular seem to invest into education of their young generation, whereas the benefits are accrued by wealthier countries to which these educated and trained human resources tend to migrate.
    2. The Concept Note indicates that there will be more coverage of technical and vocational education, upper secondary and tertiary. Will, as a consequence, future reports also look into the transition from education and training to the world of work? Will training and support for entrepreneurship play an adequate role? Successful transition to employment (including self-employment) might be a most relevant indicator for the success of education and training.
    3. For many years, the OECD has monitored and conducted research on education in an increasing range of countries. While the Concept Note refers to data provided by the World Bank and by the European Union, there seems to be no such reference to OECD. Does the EFA GMR Team plan to coordinate with OECD in order to create synergies, or is there a risk of duplication?
    I wish you good progress in the planning and preparation of an excellent report on “Education, sustainability and the post-2015 development agenda”.


  31. Section of Education for Sustainable Development, UNESCO

    UNESCO ESD Section’s feedback on the concept note for a 2016 report on ‘Education, sustainability and the post-2015 agenda’:

    1. The concept note resonates with long-standing concerns of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) and marks a welcome paradigm shift in global thinking on education and development. One of the major thrusts of ESD as defined in Chapter 36 of Agenda 21 (1992)(footnote i), “reorienting education towards sustainable development”, has finally come to receive the necessary attention, as evidenced by the final paragraph of the concept note: “The new Sustainable Development Goals require education to be re-envisioned. The goals go beyond accessing formal education to require an interrogation of the quality and purposes of education, whether education is equitable for all, and how education is placed in a context of lifelong learning, where people and communities learn to be inclusive, peaceful, cohesive and – create a world that is sustainable for future generations” (p.10). Indeed, from an ESD perspective education must provide everyone with the opportunity to acquire the knowledge, skills and values that empower them to contribute to sustainable development.

    2. For the success of the future education agenda and indeed the sustainable development agenda overall it will be crucial to make linkages between education and other sustainable development challenges. Education and in particular ESD must be considered as a major means to address sustainable development challenges from poverty eradication to climate change and sustainable consumption and production. The report promises to do just that and this is very welcome.

    3. We feel that it would be advisable to make a reference to the UN Decade of ESD (2005-2014) and the outcome document of the 2014 UNESCO World Conference on ESD ‘Aichi-Nagoya Declaration’ (footnote ii), which summarizes major intergovernmental agreements relevant to ESD. The DESD and its follow-up framework Global Action Programme on ESD (GAP) underscore the international consensus on the importance of education in achieving sustainable development. The GAP is about to be acknowledged by the UN General Assembly as the follow up to the UN Decade. The final report on the UN Decade (footnote iii) published by UNESCO provides a large amount of information on good practice in ESD and may be helpful in drafting the global report.

    4. The term “ESD” appears only once on page 3, without being explained what it stands for. It should be spelled out as Education for Sustainable Development (ESD), unless the report can include an explicit reference to ESD earlier (please see bullet point 3 above).

    5. The only time “Education for Sustainable Development” (with the first letter of each word capitalized) appears is on page 9 in the section on “urban development and infrastructure, including ICT”. As “local communities” is one of the five Priority Action Areas of the GAP, we welcome that the 2016 report “will argue that creating urban areas that are networked ‘knowledge hubs’ with socially and environmentally conscious citizens need to start from the inclusion of Education for Sustainable Development in pre-primary and primary schools.” We however wonder (i) based on which evidence the report will make a case for this claim; (ii) why ESD is so prominently highlighted in this thematic section while it is equally relevant to other sections but not referenced there; and (iii) why it refers only to pre-primary and primary schools while secondary schools and higher education institutions (HEIs) play an equally important role.

    6. It is also stated in the urban development section that the report will assess “the role of universities and research institutions in large urban areas for economic innovation”, but it is advisable to focus not only on economic innovation but also on social innovation and to address the role of HEIs in educating future decision makers and empowering youth and communities to take action on sustainable development. We understand that “how higher education and research institutions are training students and policymakers on sustainable development and whether they contribute to relevant professional development and training” (p.9) is addressed in the section on “preserving the environment and its eco-system”, but sustainable development here seems to be defined merely as environmental sustainability.

    7. While there is a reference to “sustainable consumption and production (SCP)” on page 3, this concept does not seem to be holistically addressed in the concept note. For example, “education’s role in developing more sustainable forms of farming and produce distribution” mentioned in the section on “agriculture, food security and improved nutrition” on page 7 should be addressed together with education’s role in raising people’s awareness about the impact of eating fast food on their health as well as on global warming and labour rights, just to name a few, from a holistic SCP perspective. The concept note refers to “the impact of buying cheap clothes on global warming” (p.9) in the section on “preserving the environment and its eco-system”, but it will not be sufficient to discuss how and in what ways education leads to “everyday behaviour changes in relation to the environment” (p.9) without touching upon food consumption – we may not buy clothes every day, but we definitely eat every day. Overall, of course, the inclusion of these specific sustainable development issues in the report is very welcome.

    8. It is important not to narrowly define “preserving the environment and its eco-system” as concerning environment protection or conservation and issues that have long been (inadequately) perceived as environmental problems such as climate change. Climate change has major implications for where people can settle, grow food, maintain built infrastructure, and rely on functioning ecosystems, so it should be a cross-cutting issue for the major thematic sections suggested for the report (i.e. agriculture; health; gender; urban development; environment; peace). We feel that the discussion of climate change should not be confined to the section on “preserving the environment”. For example, child-focused organizations like Plan International and UNICEF have been advocating for the need to enhance the education sector response to climate change from the children’s rights perspective. (footnote iv)

    i. Chapter 36 of Agenda 21 – http://habitat.igc.org/agenda21/a21-36.htm
    ii. Aichi-Nagoya Declaration on ESD – http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0023/002310/231074e.pdf
    iii. Shaping the Future We Want: The UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014) Final Report – http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0023/002301/230171e.pdf
    iv. See, for example, UNICEF (2012), Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction in the Education Sector: Resource Manual; Children in a Changing Climate (2010), Child Rights and Climate Change Adaptation: Voices from Kenya and Cambodia, (Authored by Polack, Emily), Institute of Development Studies (IDS)/Plan International


  32. Zeynep Varoglu - Programme Specialist, ICT in Education Knowledge Societies Division, Communication and Information Sector, UNESCO

    The call for inputs concerning the role of ICTs in education is very welcome.
    In view of the immense role that the development of ICTs in all realms of society , and the fact that ‘the 2016 report will not only focus on the complex interrelationships between education and key development sectors but will also determine which education strategies, policies and programmes are most effectively linked to economic, social, environmental and political priorities of the new sustainable agenda’ (page 2 of the concept note), it would seem only logical that a greater emphasis than provided in the current concept note would be given to this area.

    While the concept note states that the 2016 report will examine ICTs role in creating, disseminating and sharing knowledge… , it would be necessary to examine clearly:
    1. The rise of Knowledge Societies, and Knowledge economies, and how educational systems worldwide are going to respond in order to make sure these developments are inclusive to those in all parts of the world, and counter marginalization of some sectors of the worlds’ population (focus on disabilities, ensuring gender equity, equitable opportunities for developed and developing countries).
    2. What is the role of digital literacies (‘technological literacies), basically being able to use (and learn to use) new technologies for daily life in the literacy frameworks to be developed post 2015?
    3. What are the elements of technological developments that will most have an effect on educational outcomes worldwide ? Examples would be the role of mobiles for education in areas that do not have the infrastructure for other modes of connectivity, the role of broadband, in view of the work of the Broadband Commission amongst others.
    4. What has been the link between private business companies (e.g. Google, Microsoft etc.) and the role of Open source movements (Open Educational Resources -OER; Free and Open Source Software – FOSS; and Open Access to Scientific information – OA)?
    5. What has been the impact of the ICT revolution that coincided with the launch of the Dakar Framework period (2000) to 2015? To ignore this correlation in timing would be a great error. Correlating exactly to the GMR studies held since Dakar has been the immense exponential rise in the use of technologies in education in all areas of society, not the least education. It is unfortunate that ICTs were not specifically addressed in the EFA goals from Dakar, perhaps this is why they were not specifically addressed in the GMR, however now is the opportunity to address this key issue head on. If not done at this point in a serious manner, it could be seen in future years, looking back as a serious lapsus in the process (e.g. not noticing the elephant in the room the whole time the GMRs were being developed, and the rest of the world was busy getting more and more connected, socially and economically).
    6. What will be the role of ICTs in supporting g the role of ‘resilience’ that echoes through on the post 2015 goals, and what is the link to education? To education in all parts of the world? How?


  33. Shaheen Attiqur Rahman

    3 points…
    1. AE is fast leaving the agenda’s of most Governments, which will ensure drop outs of their Children large population growth & poverty , more focus on it.
    2. Distance Learning gives rural population a much needed access to improve their Learning levals, some focus on it.

    3. Mobile phone technology as a AE tool of Learning be promoted ..also for AE.


  34. Prof.Peter Mittler, UN consultant

    I welcome the aims and scope of the concept note but need to put in a plea at this early stage not to repeat the omission in nearly all previous reports of the world’s 1 billion disabled people who make up one third of the world’s 58 million out of school children but remain invisible in WIDE statistics and in the programme of work of many agencies developing SDG indicators. The fact that the 2016 report will include life-long learning makes it all the more important to ensure that adults with disabilities are included in data collection and that a full literature search is undertaken to ensure that relevant studies are not overlooked in future reports.

    Although the UN is committed to the rights of disabled people including the right to be counted in CRPD Article 31) and the General Assembly has endorsed the demand for disability-disaggregated data for the SDGs, there is little evidence of activity of implementation of this policy at UN or national levels.

    Despite a UN and NGO consensus that SDG indicators must be ‘human rights based’, there is no evidence of plans to harmonise them with the existing indicators already being used for the detailed monitoring of national implementation of relevant UN Conventions such as those on the Child and on Persons with Disabilities by the UN High Commission on Human Rights.(www.ohchr.org)


  35. Perdana Putra-Pan

    A very timely project indeed, the need for universal education itself being never more crucial. That said, I would suggest that countries with a lack of qualified teaching force can be supported to learn from better-performing countries—our unique teaching contexts notwithstanding—to leverage on a sharing of pedagogies within a cross-border community of educators, in the hope of increasing the efficiency of each teacher especially in places where the teaching workforce is unfortunately still struggling, both quantitatively and qualitatively. For one, I’m an educator from Singapore and while we might not be perfect yet, it would be an honour to share some tips with fellow educators, for instance, from sub-Saharan Africa. I may in fact learn to maximise my own resources in the process, renewing simultaneously my appreciation towards the infrastructure not everyone in the world gets to receive.


  36. Randolph Femmer

    As a contribution here, consider for a moment the following question: What should EVERY student, educator, policymaker, citizen, and scholar KNOW about our planet? And then contemplate how such essential principles, data sets, and core understandings might be shared, for instance, with policymakers or foreign policy advisors, or leading academics in, for example, a one-day workshop? Or shared with students and/or first-year undergraduates of every major in an easy (and do-able; and free) one-or-two-week open-courseware unit?

    Next envision, therefore, TWO open-courseware collections of “Sustainability-Science” Executive summary PowerPoints and Executive summary PDFs that are both (a) easily accessible, and (b) entirely free for use by scientists, policymakers, students, and educators anywhere in the world. One of these collections is entitled “Biospheric Literacy and Sustainability 101 – Six PowerPoints / Six Days” and its resources are both accessible and freely-downloadable at http://golddoubloons.wix.com/biospheric-literacy#!powerpoints/c24vq . The second collection consists of six brief “Executive summary PDFs” for policymakers and academia which are accessible and downloadable at http://golddoubloons.wix.com/biospheric-literacy#!pdfs/cdc9 .

    When it comes to biospheric systems, environmental sustainability, and the only functioning planetary life-support machinery so far known to exist anywhere in the universe, we submit that there exists a specific repertoire of scientific information that every citizen should know about our planet, which includes, for example, topics such as Global environmental issues? Introductory Ecology? Population-environment? Food, water, and sustainability? Biodiversity and Conservation? Exponential and steady-state mathematics? Carrying capacity and Limiting Factors in population systems? And “Exactly HOW LARGE is a Billion?” (For this last, see some of the PowerPoint items – as a hint, however, the answer is 38,461 years.).


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