Education International
Education International

Unite Diary: Education Is A Right That Deserves Continuing Global Goal

published 25 September 2013 updated 25 September 2013

It was the closing of a meeting here in New York, but it was a teacher union leader and EI speaker that opened the eyes of participants focusing on a simple proposition: education should be a continuing standalone goal for international development.

“It saddens me to hear some people say that some children’s rights are not the same as others; that for some children, it is okay for them to be taught by a teacher who is less than qualified,” said Angelo Gavrielatos, president of the Australian Education Union.

Speaking as a representative of Education International to a meeting of more than a dozen civil society networks hosted by the Open Society Foundation, Gavrielatos said, “Human rights drives us and defines us at EI. Every child should have access to a high-quality public school and we need a high-quality public school in every community.

The event took place against the backdrop of the opening days of the UN General Assembly. The organizing document said “there is traction for having a standalone goal on education in the post-2015 development frameworks.”

Kishore Singh, who was responsible for the right to education at UNESCO for many years and is now Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education, said education deserves a special place in development discussion as “the activity that promotes the core objective of civilization.”

Taking note of the drive in some locations for privatization, Singh said governments must “preserve quality education and not allow it to be used merely for business.”

Jordan Naidoo, Senior Advisor for Education at UNICEF, noted the current discussion on post-2015 frameworks focused correctly on quality education rather than access alone. But he acknowledged the sentiment in the room that “a focus on quality has always been part of our advocacy and the work we perform.”

Lakshmi Puri, Deputy Executive Director of UN Women, urged participants to “keep up the advocacy” for laws protecting girls and women’s education, investment and data on their progress.

Said Gavrielatos, “We take our responsibilities to learners very seriously. At Education International, we will be talking about uniting for quality education locally, nationally and globally, so that everyone takes their responsibility seriously for every child to reach their potential.”