2011 - The Year in Education
The Education for All focus on international goal sometimes deflects attention from the fact that government revenue is the main source of spending on education. Even in the poorest countries, the mobilization of domestic resources and decisions over the allocation of those resources through the national budget far outweigh development assistance in national budgets.
When fighting stops, education can play a key role in restoring hope and normality, building confidence in the state and laying the foundations for peace. But the divide between short-term humanitarian aid and long-term development aid undermines reconstruction efforts. Opportunities to deliver an early peace premium through education are being lost.
UNESCO began many important education initiatives by 2011 in countries like Jomtien and Thailand to give a new motivation to the EFA movement. The 2011 Education for All Global Monitoring Report, The Hidden Crisis: Armed conflict and Education, warned that armed conflict was robbing 28 million children of an education. Launched in some 50 countries, it raised awareness of this important issue throughout the year.
Initiatives to place girls’ and women’s education and literacy firmly on the international agenda included a dynamic new education partnership, “Better Life, Better Future”, which Director-General Irina Bokova launched at UNESCO Headquarters with United States Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the Prime Ministers of Bangladesh and Mali – who are both women – and representatives of Apple, Microsoft, Nokia and Procter & Gamble.
To encourage international debate, UNESCO’s Global Forum on Rankings and Accountability in Higher Education debated rankings and questioned their influence on education policy. The Organization also advanced reflections on access and quality through harnessing ICTs for education through events such as Mobile Learning Week.
Restoring education and expressing solidarity following natural disasters was, as always, a priority. After the tsunami and nuclear accident on 11 March in Fukushima, Japan, a UNESCO-supported programme raised over 1 million euros to help rebuild schools, while the Kizuna project generated 30,000 messages of solidarity from children worldwide.
Last but not least, to improve the capacity of education systems to respond to and reverse the AIDS epidemic, UNESCO unveiled an important new strategy on HIV and AIDS, stressing the importance of widening access to comprehensive HIV education.
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