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Metadata of Note

Type:🍃 Leaf (Nomenclature present here)

Source (Reports): UNESCO

Tags: #education #future #futureofwork #climatechange

Date: February 7th, 2022


Incomplete and inequitable expansion of education (Page 30)

  • By many measures, the expansion of access to education globally, since education was adopted as a human right, has been spectacular. When the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted in 1948, the world population stood at 2.4 billion, with only 45% of those people having set foot in a school. Today, with a global population of 8 billion, over 95% have attended school. Enrolment in 2020 surpassed 90% in primary, 85% in lower secondary and 65% in upper-secondary education. As a result, there has been a clear decline in the share of out-of-school children and adolescents across the world over the past fifty years. (Page 30)
  • There has also been a significant increase in participation in pre-primary education around the world, across all regions and country income groups, especially since 2000. Global participation rates went from just over 15% in 1970, to 35% in 2000, reaching over 60% in 2019. In higher and middle-income countries, participation rates are converging, with near-universal pre-primary participation expected by 2050. (Page 31)
  • Participation in higher education has also increased significantly over the past fifty years. Global participation rose from 10% of youth and adults worldwide in 1970 to 40% today. Growth in enrolment has also come with a feminization of higher education participation over the past fifty years. While participation in higher education was predominantly male in the 1970s and 1980s, gender parity was reached around 1990 and female participation has continued to grow faster than that of men since then. This is the case for countries across all income groups, except for low-income countries, and across all regions except sub-Saharan Africa where 7% of female students and 10% of male students participate. (Page 31)
  • Despite this remarkable progress in expanding educational opportunities over the past decades, however, access to high-quality education remains incomplete and inequitable. Exclusion from educational opportunity remains stark (Page 31)
  • One in four youth in lower-income countries is still nonliterate today. Even in middle income and upper-income countries, the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment has shown that sizable shares of the populations of 15-year-olds in school are unable to understand what they read beyond the most basic levels, in a world in which demands for civic and economic participation become ever more complex. And yet, even by conventional definitions, adult literacy rates are less than 75% in lower-middle-income countries and just over 55% in lower-income countries. While gender gaps in adult literacy have also narrowed since 1990, they remain significant, especially for the poor. In low-income countries, more than 2 out of 5 women are not literate (Page 31)
  • The situation is even more dramatic at the secondary level. Three out of five adolescents and youth in low-income countries are currently out of secondary school, and this is despite 2030 commitments to ensure universal completion of free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education. The disparities are clearly defined. While lower secondary enrolment is almost universal (98%) in high-income countries, more than a third of adolescents (40% of girls and 34% of boys) are not enrolled in lower secondary education in low-income countries (Page 32)
  • Close to 60% of high school students in lower-middle-income countries and almost 90% in low-income countries leave school before completing the secondary cycle. Such a dramatic loss of youth potential and talent is unacceptable. The massive scale of early school leaving may be explained by a range of factors, including weak relevance of learning content, lack of attention to the specific social needs of girls and the economic circumstances of the poor, lack of cultural sensitivity and relevance, and inadequate pedagogical methods and processes relevant to the realities of youth. This is a largely overlooked dimension of what many have called a global ‘learning crisis. (Page 32)
  • Many cultural norms undermine the professionalization of teaching such as the use of teacher appointments to serve interests other than those of the students – such as political patronage –, the use of teacher education programmes as ‘cash cows’ of the institutions that run them, career structures that do not recognize teachers’ impact on student learning, lack standards of practice or of standards for teacher preparation institutions, material conditions of the profession that are considerably below those of other occupations that require similar levels of preparation and work, pressures on teachers to perform work that diminishes their standing as professionals (Page 33)
  • The declining share of qualified teachers in sub-Saharan Africa is even more significant at the secondary level. Only half of all secondary school teachers in sub-Saharan Africa possessed minimum qualifications in 2015, down from nearly 80% ten years earlier. (Page 33)
  • The economies of China and sub-Saharan Africa had similar sizes in 1990, representing some 2% and 1.5% of the global economy respectively. Thirty years later, China accounts for 16% of the world GDP, while sub-Saharan Africa represents a mere 2%. (Page 34)
  • Indeed, despite the global decline in poverty over the past thirty years, close to 690 million people across the world still live in poverty, on less than two US dollars a day. According to the World Bank, a quarter of the world population, or some 1.8 billion people, live on 3.20 US dollars or less a day. Extreme poverty is largely concentrated in sub-Saharan Africa, is predominantly rural, and disproportionately affects women. Two-thirds of those who are poor are children and youth under 25 years of age. (Page 34)
  • Indeed, extreme inequality can also breed conditions for corruption in education, where unchecked fervour to get ahead can translate to illicit shortcuts, and where the capacity for effective oversight is lacking. Transparency International’s 2013 Global Corruption Report outlined how corruption in education can take many forms, including the diversion of resources intended for procurement and supplies, bribery for grades and admissions, nepotism in hiring and scholarships, academic plagiarism, and undue political and corporate influence on research. (Page 35)
  • The exclusion of girls is even more pronounced in lower and upper secondary education. In 9 of the lowest income countries, the poorest girls spend on average 2 years fewer in school than boys. This gendered drop-off, particularly in secondary education, indicates how much more needs to be done to retain girls along with the full lifespan of their education. Initial access is insufficient. Ensuring that girls complete a full cycle of secondary education is a responsibility that goes well beyond schools. It relates to the social and economic challenges that girls continue to face around the world, particularly at the age of puberty, around issues such as early marriage or early and unintended pregnancy, domestic work, and menstrual health and stigma. (Page 35)
  • Indigenous and ethnic minority children and youth face several barriers that limit their access to quality education at all levels. Beyond economic, linguistic and geographical barriers, factors such as racism, discrimination and lack of cultural relevance factor into high attrition rates among indigenous children and youth. (Page 36)
  • In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic alone left 1.6 billion children and young people around the world affected by the closures of educational institutions. Even as schools reopened, millions of students will not return, particularly those from poorer and more marginalized communities. Inequality in educational opportunity has been further exacerbated. Forging a new social contract for education is all the more urgent given emerging societal transformations underway and radical disruptions on the horizon. It must address the existing web of inequalities that perpetuate educational and social exclusions while helping to shape environmentally sustainable, socially just and inclusive shared futures. (Page 37)


Climate change and education (Page 38)

  • A scientific consensus has emerged that the decades leading to 2050, and the 2020s in particular, will be pivotal for the future of humans and all other life forms on Earth. The steps we take – or do not take – to reduce carbon emissions will determine what futures are possible in the 2030s and 2040s and will have ripple effects for hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of years. (Page 39)
  • The signing of the 2015 Paris Climate Accords marked a historic global commitment to work to stabilize and reduce the global output of greenhouse gases such as CO2 and methane which has been expanding since the dawn of the industrial era. Governments of the world pledged to help ensure the planet does not warm more than 2 °C above pre-industrial levels (and preferably not more than 1.5 °C). Yet despite commitments to scale back the burning of fossil fuels, emissions continue to increase. (Page 39)
  • And, despite constant warnings, far too many people still fail to understand the consequences of human activity such as mining and burning carbon to power the modern world. Human activities have precipitated climate shifts that have also caused up to half of the tropical coral reefs on the planet to die, 10 trillion tons of ice to melt, and the ocean to grow dramatically more acidic (Page 39)
  • The warming of Earth’s atmosphere and oceans goes hand-in-hand with the exploitation of resources pushing the planet to the brink. The human world population tripled between 1950 and 2020, growing from 2.5 billion persons to almost 8 billion, a result of increasing birth rates and rapidly increasing lifespans. The average person on Earth lived twice as long in 2020 than in 1920 – a remarkable achievement that reflects countless social and scientific accomplishments. Predictably, this population explosion has been matched by concurrent increases in resource needs. And populations continue to expand, albeit at a slower pace than in recent centuries. Current projections suggest population growth will reach 9.7 billion in 2050 and then likely plateau at around 11 billion in 2100. (Page 40)
  • By some estimates, the current ecological footprint of human beings requires 1.6 planet Earth to support us and absorb our waste. (Page 40)
  • Without a course correction, in 2050 we will be using resources at four times the rate it takes for them to replenish and will hand future generations a gravely depleted planet. (Page 40)
  • Privileged groups and wealthier areas of the planet use dramatically more resources and burn more carbon than others. As we work together to change direction, social justice must encompass ecological justice and vice-versa. We must ensure that those least responsible for causing these strains to the planet do not continue to disproportionately pay the price for them. (Page 41)
  • Rising temperatures present special risks to education. Considerable research has shown that heat adversely impacts learning and cognition, and most of the world’s schools and homes do not currently have appropriate materials, architecture and technologies to meaningfully reduce temperatures and ensure climate control. This is true in countries with extreme heat and in countries, many of them rich, that only periodically experience dramatic temperature spikes (Page 41)
  • Evidence shows that climate change increases gender inequality, especially among the poorest and marginalized, and those dependent on subsistence agriculture. Where resources are scarce, they tend to be distributed unequally. When women and girls are displaced by the effects of climate change, the potential for them to fall into a poverty trap is much higher. Their prospects for returning to and restoring their lives, including through education, is lower than their male counterparts. (Page 42)
  • Indigenous women own knowledge that contributes to the mitigation and adaptation to climate change, such as sustainable forest management, sowing and harvesting of water, biodiversity, crop resistance, and seed conservation and selection, but their contributions are often ignored. Too often those most affected by climate change are underrepresented in public debates – globally and within their countries and localities. (Page 42)
  • For too long, education itself has been based on an economic growth-focused modernization development paradigm. But there are early signs that we are moving towards a new ecologically-oriented education rooted in understandings that can rebalance our ways of living on Earth and recognize its interdependent systems and their limits (Page 42)