26 September 2012
“Today is a historic day when the central role of education in accelerating progress towards the MDGs is once again reaffirmed”, stated the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education, Kishore Singh, after attending the launch of the UN Secretary-General’s new Global Initiative on Education, ‘Education First’, in New York on 26 September 2012.
“The Secretary-General’s Initiative promises to place education higher on the international development agenda”, said the Special Rapporteur. “The Initiative is also very opportune, given its new emphasis on the promotion of relevant and quality education.” Mr. Singh noted that his report to be presented to the 67th UN General Assembly will also address the theme of technical and vocational education in this perspective, focusing on the knowledge, skills and competencies imparted through this form of education.
“The focus on relevant and high-quality education without discrimination or exclusion must be applauded – compromising on quality will only prolong the ongoing learning crisis”, said the UN expert.
“Investment in education must be a permanent priority. Education’s empowering role is indispensable for the success of poverty reduction strategies and the achievement of global development commitments” “The principles of social justice and equity should guide State actions in the field of education,” added Mr. Singh.
Referring to his last report to the Human Rights Council, the Special Rapporteur also underlined the need to intensify national level normative action for quality education.
Mr. Singh welcomed the creation of the Initiative’s High-Level Steering Committee, with UNESCO’s Director-General Irina Bokova as its Executive Secretary.
“The Secretary-General’s Initiative promotes a new vision, placing education at the heart of all efforts for nation-building, to ‘create a generation that values the common good’. The Initiative strives to foster and promote value-based education and global citizenship. In a globalizing world, all men and women must become fully conscious of the need and importance of learning to live together, of upholding human rights and human dignity everywhere.”
Mr. Singh concluded by calling on the entire international community to join forces in the promotion of the Initiative and suggested that regional bodies and States could promote similar efforts at regional and national levels, thereby according the highest priority to the full realization of the right to education.