Capturing quality, equity and sustainability: an actionable vision with powerful indicators for a broad and bold education agenda post-2015

Autor(es): Heyman, Cory; Switzer, Tawnya; Naidu, Sailesh; Godbole, Pragati; Bartlett, Lesley; Hodge, Stephanie; Vavrus, Frances; Wilkinson, Moira N.; Thomas, Matthew A.M.

Organisation(s): Open Society Foundations

Date: 2015

Pages: 55 p.


The World Conference on Education for All in Jomtien in 1990 marked the first concerted effort to prioritize educational development around the world, and subsequent meetings continue to advance the global agenda for what education—and the world—could become. In 2000, the EFA and Millennium Development Goals laid out the first set of concrete and actionable goals to increase development and improve access to education for all children. Our education goals were instrumental to our development goals. In 2015, development goals have shifted to Sustainable Development Goals, and the education we promote must follow suit. The main aim of the post-2015 goals is to cultivate life-long learners and develop Global Citizens who are committed to eradicating poverty and ensuring dignity, human rights, and social justice in their homes, communities, and countries. A decade and a half into the 21st century, our world population faces a wholly different set of social, economic, and environmental challenges and opportunities than those of the past. Our interconnectedness and interdependence have never been more apparent—through the fluidity of our labor markets, the sources and flows of our goods and services, and real-time exchange of ideas and communication through social media channels. Education for the 21st century has to equip all people everywhere with the capacities to initiate and negotiate new relationships between and among people and between governments, to cultivate inventive and adaptive mindsets, and to reconcile human interdependence with natural systems. Today, both the opportunities and challenges are global and learning outcomes are life outcomes. Our systems-level problems require systems-level solutions, which means that individuals and institutions from across the globe will have to work together to figure out what those solutions are and set them in motion. To that end, there is no single learning outcome more relevant in 2015 than Global Citizenship. The decisions, dispositions, and behaviors of Global Citizens encompass all others. Without functional literacy, numeracy, and individual life-skills, we cannot be Global Citizens. At the same time, the attitudes and values of a Global Citizen preclude social injustice, extreme economic inequality, and unsustainable development. Global Citizenship is an outcome and it is also a competency that has to be cultivated. As with any competency, it is comprised of a unique combination of knowledge, skills, values, and attitudes that inform all our decisions and guide each of our actions every day. This competency is at the base of our global transformation and mastering this competency is as important for learners in basic education as it is for every state and non-state actor in all facets of the public sphere and private enterprise. Global Citizenship is an outcome that is categorically distinct from any of the EFA and MDG targets to which we have committed to date. Yet, through the process of defining educational goals, old tensions resurface and new ones emerge. Setting any global agenda highlights the Capturing Quality, Equity & Sustainability: An Actionable Vision with Powerful Indicators for a Broad and Bold Education Agenda Post-2015 2 politics and unequal power dynamics of choice architecture by a few on behalf of most. Naming the goals—sustainable development and global citizenship—at the outset is productive for planning and also braves new terrain for educational practitioners and policy-makers. Nowhere are the tensions more apparent than in the endeavor to identify at the global level the core attributes and indicators of education systems that produce global citizens with the intention of applying it at the national level. To attain different outcomes, we must use different processes. Therefore, if the aim is to develop Global Citizenship competencies, by definition, these competencies know no borders. This new and necessary focus renders irrelevant a country’s status as “developing” or “industrialized.” No country is exempt: all nations must commit to measuring our own progress toward the global indicators. Though the momentum of the global conversation has narrowed over time toward the practical, we must keep in mind the more enduring and intangible requirements for living well on the planet together. This report is an examination of what would need to change systemically, in spirit, thought, and action, to make good on the UN High Level Panel of Eminent Persons’ challenge for “A New Global Partnership.” This report translates the commitments held out by the Education for All Steering Committee (EFA-SC) and Sustainable Development Open Working Group (OWG) into a framework for action to fundamentally shift priorities, resources, dynamics, and outcomes to achieve peaceful, sustainable, diverse communities and countries. The OWG goals and EFA-SC targets orient us toward solutions that are as broad and bold as they are equitable and sustainable. The indicators we set forth to monitor progress toward these goals offer an unparalleled opportunity to advance the processes and systems that enable children everywhere to enjoy the benefits of learning as well as enable societies to accrue social, political, and economic benefits of a more educated citizenry.

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