Ensuring every child around the world is in school and educated, is a key priority for The Honorable Julia Gillard, Chair of the Board of Directors of the Global Partnership for Education. Speaking at the fifth Global Education & Skills Forum (GESF) in Dubai, the former Australian prime minister spoke of the importance of solving the education deficit, in terms of both access and funding.
Moderated by Bobby Ghosh, Editor-In-Chief at Hindustan Times, Gillard’s session looked at the global shortage of teachers, access to education and the funding needed to bridge the gap for future generations.
Part of the current issue was attributed to the lack of global emphasis placed on education until recent years, with the importance of providing children with quality schooling only recently being added to the agenda for humanitarian aid, particularly in poorer areas and areas of conflict.
Gillard said: “The problem is huge; at present, there are around 260 million children who don’t have access to primary and secondary school education. We want to see every child in school and every child educated. Looking globally, the world currently spends around 1.3 trillion dollars on school education, but we need to be spending 3 trillion dollars annually by the year 2030.”
A major barrier to progress in global education is the shortage of quality teachers across the globe, in which Gillard stated that the deficit is in the hundreds of thousands of teachers, with the challenge of training teachers being “immense”.
In addressing the issue, Gillard believed that there is a strong case to be made for advocacy and the presence of a global movement: “If you look at the world overall, many of the world’s leaders are influenced by global campaigns. We want to make sure that, this year, the global campaign is around education.”
Mothers were also cited as being instrumental in prompting a virtuous cycle of change; by educating mothers, they can experience the full impact that education provides in shaping the future, and use that power as a driver in the fight to ensure that their children go on to be educated.
Throughout the session, emphasis was placed on the importance of global education and ensuring that the message resonates globally through platforms such as GESF. As technology and society shifts, education continues to becoming increasingly important.
“Education is the key to the sort of change we want to see in our planet,” concluded Gillard, “the global education movement is about trying to solve that, and we need to make the case for change.”
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