Education for All: Test for G8
Russia has declared the education issue on of three priorities to discuss within its presidency in G8. The actuality of this decision is confirmed by the fact that the countries trying to participate in globalization and digital revolution develop and renew actively their education systems. But there is still an enormous difference between the education in poorest and richest countries. The richest countries should include the poorest countries to enter the economic system based on knowledge. The education can accelerate their progress on the way to the economic success. That’s why the developing countries hope that the G8 summit in St Petersburg will pay considerable attention to the education issues.
The G8 leaders have to keep their word they gave in 2000 at the Millenium summit to help all countries to fulfill the “Education for All” program. Of eight Millenium goals the education program has more chances to success. The Education for All Program supposes that in 2015 all children will go to primary school (today 100 million children don’t have such possibility).
Despite all the measures undertaken at least 44 countries will not be able to achieve the Millenium goals by 2015. The most dangerous situation is in Africa, where the 50 percent of the adult population in 20 countries are illiterate. The G8 summit in St Petersburg is one more possibility to organize additional support of the fulfillment of Millenium goals by the G8 states and international organizations dealing with education issues.
The education is the most effective method to change the life of the poorest people in the world. The educated people get higher salary and contribute more to the social development to compare with the illiterate people. The 5 y.o. child from Australia, Finland or GB has as a prospect 19 yeasr of education but the children from Mali or Mozambique – 5 years at maximum.
The education is the most effective channel to transfer culture and values. We have to support the youngsters today – because tomorrow they will be initiators of new ideas and their countries will have opportunities for the global development. But if they don’t get education, they will become a source of risk for themselves and the community, they will be the symbol of omitted possibilities. The education is the best vaccine against HIV/AIDS. The quality education is the future of millions of youngsters in the world.
It is vitally important that by 2015 all countries implement the program “Education for All” and provide all children with educational services. To do this, we need to have a full support coming from the governments. That’s why the Group of Eight has adopted in 2002 in Kananaskis the Initiative for “Education for All” program realization.
The Initiative is a very complicated mechanism and its coordination lays upon the World Bank which has a long history of assistance in developing educational systems.
But we must admit that for the moment the financing the Education for All program is not enough. According to preliminary evaluation, it is necessary to invest at least 3,7 billion USD to give the poorest countries the chance to get the overall primary education.
The realization of the Education for All program is the necessary basis helping to achieve the dynamic development and education for the communities. Such education must be included in the wider macroeconomic and social context and be based on the firm research and innovational basis.
To begin the very first days of its presidency in G8 Russia has shown its energy and enthusiasm within the sphere of education. Its activeness is especially important today, when the education and finance ministers of G8 countries are contacting permanently and preparing the issues for the summit agenda. The poorest countries hope that the additional support of the overall education will be the most important result of this Forum.
Author – the Director of the Educational Department of the World Bank