Keeping the promise of education for all in 2030 is an imperative goal! It’s been three years since 193 heads of state committed to “ensuring access for all to quality education, on an equal footing, and to promote the possibilities of lifelong learning” by 2030. Since then we have had some nice speeches, many promises of leaving no one behind and finally some previously unseen announcements of funding for education. These have even reached $112 billion during the Global Partnership for Education Financing Conference (GPE) in February 2018. This commitment reflects a real awareness of the essential role of education for the future of humanity. Nonetheless, has the situation really changed? Have we made any progress in the fight against inequality and exclusion of those who still deprive today 263 million children from access to education? There has been some progress, but the road is still long to achieve our goals.
“Access to quality education is not just an objective in itself, it is especially the golden thread that will reduce famine, to fight against poverty and disease, to limit climate change, in short to reach all Sustainable Development Goals and create a world of lasting peace.”
Indeed, for 10 years, the number of children that are excluded from education has remained at the same level, development programmes fail to reach populations that are the most marginalized. 617 million children, of whom more than half still go to school, yet do not master basic skills and more than 750 million adults are illiterate. By 2030, 800 million young people will enter the labour market without having the skills needed to get a job. In the current state of affairs, quality education for all will not be reached in 2030 but it will be a more than 50 year old delay. Once again, we will not succeed in keeping our commitment. Once again, the poorest children, those boys and girls who rely most on us will be deprived of their right to education.
For Aide et Action, to not keep this promise is unthinkable, even reckless because it’s the future of the world that depends on it: access to quality education is not just an objective in itself, it is especially the golden thread that will reduce famine, to fight against poverty and disease, to limit climate change, in short to reach all Sustainable Development Goals and create a world of lasting peace. Increasing investments to offer this quality education for all is therefore a good starting point, but that will not be enough. We will also have to change strategy, revamp our programmes and put right in the heart of our actions a flawless determination to go and meet the Other.
In Vietnam together with ethnic minorities; in India alongside unemployed youth, without training; in Africa, with illiterate women, our teams worked alongside those who suffer each day from exclusion and discrimination in 2018. Quality education, which is truly inclusive, is not built from an office but in the field, with exchanges, in touch with reality. And our strength is there: our teams are involved in cities as well as in the most remote areas, they exchange with the most marginalized communities, teach them to foster contact and to create together not simply a school, but “their” school, an open learning eco-system, adapted to their needs and to their cultures. The education offered here is the result of outreach work with local teachers that we offer the means but also the opportunity to experiment, to innovate and deploy new learning methods while respecting national programmes.
And the results, as you will read in this activity report, are there: in 2018, in our 74 projects conducted in 19 countries in Africa, South Asia, SouthEast Asia and Europe, 1,204,428 people were impacted by our activities (624,157 children and young people, 564,197 adults and 16,074 teachers from 2013 schools). The path remains difficult and many challenges lie ahead. But in front of them, we will be humble, ready to roll up our sleeves; listen to local people to forge new partnerships for the development of new projects that act simultaneously on all the obstacles towards education.
A special thank you also goes out to our volunteers, donors and partners who relentlessly take action, on our side, so that education in 2030 will no longer be a mirage but a reality for all, without exclusion or discrimination.
All this would be impossible without the mobilization of our teams in the field, our employees and our managers, who embody the values and know-how that has built our reputation in the 37 last years.