Shanghai, China, 13-19 May 2012
I would like to express my appreciation and thanks for being invited to participate in this meeting entitled Beyond 2015: Perspectives from the role of TVET and skills development in the international development. The topic being addressed at this meeting is very opportune and needful with regard to the challenges ahead in light of the post 2015 perspective for EFA and the right to education in general.
While EFA agenda remains unfinished, it is already essential to reflect over the post-2015 agenda.
Such agenda would need to be built upon the achievements made, taking into consideration notable progress made in achieving the goal of universal primary education. In continuum with primary education, in many countries, national legislation and policies are being developed to provide for general secondary education. In such development, technical and vocational education and training is receiving special consideration. Thus, in post-2015 agenda, the bare minimum objective of universalizing primary education will need to be broadened to make secondary education accessible to all.
However, progress made for EFA is severely constrained by persistent disparities in education. Moreover, there is widespread concern over the poor quality of education provided, as is evidenced by dismal learning outcomes. The right to basic education of quality for all education thus remains unfulfilled. Post-2015 agenda for education therefore needs to address the permanent challenges of overcoming inequalities in education. It will also be essential to ensure that quality imperatives are a central concern in such agenda.
Universally recognized values of human rights, democratic citizenship and learning to be and learning to live tougher should be endemic to any education system. These are of perennial importance, and can be enriched by humanistic education. Social justice and equity, reflected in the Millennium Decoration, are as well of abiding concern, given marginalization and exclusion in education.
The education systems of tomorrow needs to be so designed that they impart knowledge, skills and competencies which are empowering in the real sense, and are permeated by the right to education for all without discrimination or exclusion. They should also delineate clearly the roles and responsibility of various stakeholders including community, local bodies, teachers, and parents, in a spirit of good governance and accountability, with the primary responsibility of governments in keeping with human rights obligations. In that spirit, a legal comprehensive framework need to be put in place which governs all providers of education, and is fully respectful of the right to education as a fundamental human right. Education is the best investment for a country’s development and must be preserved as a public good. It should be accorded much higher place on development agenda.