• Why education is the key to development

    Why education is the key to development

    By: Borge Brende - Minister of Foreign Affairs, Norway   Published On: July 7, 2017

    Education is a human right. And, like other human rights, it cannot be taken for granted. Across the world, 59 million children and 65 million adolescents are out of school. More than 120 million children do not complete primary education. Behind these figures there are children and youth being denied not only a right, but opportunities: a fair chance to get a decent job, to escape poverty, to support their families, and to develop their communities. This year, decision-makers will set the priorities for global development for the next 15 years. They should make sure to place education high on the list.
    The deadline for the Millennium Development Goals is fast approaching. We have a responsibility to make sure we fulfill the promise we made at the beginning of the millennium: to ensure that boys and girls everywhere complete a full course of primary schooling.
    The challenge is daunting. Many of those who remain out of school are the hardest to reach, as they live in countries that are held back by conflict, disaster, and epidemics. And the last push is unlikely to be accompanied by the double-digit economic growth in some developing economies that makes it easier to expand opportunities.
    Nevertheless, we can succeed. Over the last 15 years, governments and their partners have shown that political will and concerted efforts can deliver tremendous results including halving the number of children and adolescents who are out of school. Moreover, most countries are closing in on gender parity at the primary level. Now is the time to redouble our efforts to finish what we started.
    But we must not stop with primary education. In today’s knowledge-driven economies, access to quality education and the chances for development are two sides of the same coin. That is why we must also set targets for secondary education, while improving quality and learning outcomes at all levels. That is what the Sustainable Development Goal on education, which world leaders will adopt this year, aims to do.
    Addressing the fact that an estimated 250 million children worldwide are not learning the basic skills they need to enter the labor market is more than a moral obligation. It amounts to an investment in sustainable growth and prosperity. For both countries and individuals, there is a direct and indisputable link between access to quality education and economic and social development.
    Likewise, ensuring that girls are not kept at home when they reach puberty, but are allowed to complete education on the same footing as their male counterparts, is not just altruism; it is sound economics. Communities and countries that succeed in achieving gender parity in education will reap substantial benefits relating to health, equality, and job creation.
    All countries, regardless of their national wealth, stand to gain from more and better education. According to a recent OECD report, providing every child with access to education and the skills needed to participate fully in society would boost GDP by an average 28% per year in lower-income countries and 16% per year in high-income countries for the next 80 years. Today&rsqou;s students need "twenty-first-century skills," like critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, and digital literacy. Learners of all ages need to become familiar with new technologies and cope with rapidly changing workplaces. According to the International Labour Organization, an additional 280 million jobs will be needed by 2019. It is vital for policymakers to ensure that the right frameworks and incentives are established so that those jobs can be created and filled. Robust education systems underpinned by qualified, professionally trained, motivated, and well-supported teachers will be the cornerstone of this effort. Governments should work with parent and teacher associations, as well as the private sector and civil-society organizations, to find the best and most constructive ways to improve the quality of education. Innovation has to be harnessed, and new partnerships must be forged. Of course, this will cost money. According to UNESCO, in order to meet our basic education targets by 2030, we must close an external annual financing gap of about $22 billion. But we have the resources necessary to deliver. What is lacking is the political will to make the needed investments. This is the challenge that inspired Norway to invite world leaders to Oslo for a Summit on Education for Development, where we can develop strategies for mobilizing political support for increasing financing for education. For the first time in history, we are in the unique position to provide education opportunities for all, if only we pull together. We cannot miss this critical opportunity. To be sure, the responsibility for providing citizens with a quality education rests, first and foremost, with national governments. Aid cannot replace domestic-resource mobilization. But donor countries also have an important role to play, especially in supporting least-developed countries. We must reverse the recent downward trend in development assistance for education, and leverage our assistance to attract investments from various other sources. For our part, we are in the process of doubling Norways financial contribution to education for development in the period 2013-2017. Together, we need to intensify efforts to bring the poorest and hardest to reach children into the education system. Education is a right for everyone. It is a right for girls, just as it is for boys. It is a right for disabled children, just as it is for everyone else. It is a right for the 37 million out-of-school children and youth in countries affected by crises and conflicts. Education is a right regardless of where you are born and where you grow up. It is time to ensure that the right is upheld.

    Matiang’i  lauds "Future First Kenya"  for launching Alumni Association of Kenya

    Matiang’i lauds "Future First Kenya" for launching Alumni Association of Kenya

    By: Kiptanui Rutto   Published On: July 3, 2017

    Future First Kenya has recently launched the first association of its own, Alumni Association of Kenya. This is part of a global movement to support the growth of alumni networks, focusing on public and community schools.
    The mission for the association is to help strengthen public education systems by engaging former students as career role models, sports coaches, mentors and governors at their old schools. Its aim is to turn schools into communities in Kenya.
    The event that was held at the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development(KICD) was graced by Cabinet Secretary for Education, Dr. Fred Matiang’i, Irungu Houghton, representing Shule Yangu Alliance, Ann Waichinga- Associate Director Education, World Vision, Dominic Muasya a Country Director Kenya Education Fund among other dignitaries.
    This unique launch is a call to actions for Kenyans to explore the role of alumni in strengthening the Public Education Systems by giving back to their former schools.
    In his speech during the launch, the CS lauded the members for thinking differently by agreeing to come out and help the Education sector. He said we should take responsibility because the school is ours. "You know, one thing we lack is responsibility, which is why we cannot manage even what God has bestowed us yet it is ours. It is our school, not their school. The school is ours, even for our nation, if we have strong responsibility, we could manage what we have because it is ours," Dr. Matiang’i said. The CS said with such responsibility, we will manage the schools and know the priorities over buying a bus worth millions when students are walking five kilometers to get water and sinking a borehole.
    He said most parents visit the school just to have fun with their children instead of encouraging their children and working on strategies to improving the facilities of the school. The CS asked the alumni to be visiting the schools during visiting days and find out how the students are doing. The CS lauded the team saying we will bring civic perspective to management of the schools that will enhance accountability, transparency and give room for dialogue on how we should run our institutions. "You are an active team, young and energetic thus being responsible, we can now do the best. President Barrack Obama said we are the one we have been waiting; now we can do these things. Many waste their active years and when they are at 60s they demand positions yet they would do nothing much," the CS said.
    Matiang&i said so many people are ready to help but they lack mature, structural frame work of how the resources will be channeled. The CS said the challenge, however, is taking responsibility thus the entrance of First Future as one of the structures will be of great help. "It is true that we have a solid and strong feeling of giving but many are challenged on how these resources will be used. What we are doing here today is taking responsibility as members of the society and with this, we will help in linking and managing the resources from our well-wishers and molding the future of our children," he said.
    He condemned the online users of not doing the real thing but just engaging in criticizing those who are trying to do something. He said when it comes to doing something, most people do minimal. "We are in a country where we love talking much and doing nothing that is why we have a lot of planners, philosophers and economists on Facebook and Twitter but when it comes to actual things being done, they are nowhere to help," Dr Matiang’i said. The CS challenge the Alumni to engage in discussing teacher-absenteem in schools, learning, and infrastructure and come out with solutions to it saying the Ministry is ready to work with them. Country Director Kenya Education Fund, Dominic Muasya said they have mentored many children across the country through their organization which has over 20 years of collective experience working to promote education in Kenya.
    During the event, Houghton Irungu, Alliance Boys alumni said they have been working with the National and County governments to secure schools’ lands citing Langata Primary case. He said we should build up integrity base in our schools because it is meant to nurture generations.
    Kapsabet Boys High School Alumni President, Haron Sitienei challenged the participants on how they have help nurture the school. He said they have a strong bond as alumni that they have managed to erect a monument worth KSh5 million, build some new dormitories and have now given some of the old dormitories to Kapsabet Primary School, nurtured by the school.
    Others who represented their schools include Karoti Girls in Kirinyaga, Kaaga Girls in Embu, and Alliance High School among others.