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Serving Sri Lanka

This web log is a news and views blog. The primary aim is to provide an avenue for the expression and collection of ideas on sustainable, fair, and just, grassroot level development. Some of the topics that the blog will specifically address are: poverty reduction, rural development, educational issues, social empowerment, post-Tsunami relief and reconstruction, livelihood development, environmental conservation and bio-diversity. 

Monday, July 18, 2005

Thailand, Malaysia, Sri Lanka Score Well: New Education Report

News Archive - Millennium Campaign:

Press Release

Mumbai - June 29, 2005 - The Asia Pacific School Report Card is out. This report investigates the performance of 14 developing country leaders in their commitment to basic education and concludes that governments Must Do Better.
The report uses the format of a 'School Report Card' to rank the leaders of these developing countries as 'class leaders' or 'poor performers'. Of the developing countries covered, only two received an 'A' grade, one a 'B' and another two scraped through with 'C's. Class giants Hu Jintao of China (5th rank; 63/100; 'C' grade) and Manmohan Singh of India (10th rank; 43/100; 'E' grade) did not fare impressively.
The Asian South Pacific Bureau of Adult Education (ASPBAE) - a network of more than 200 organisations and individuals promoting adult education in the Asia Pacific region- and the Global Campaign for Education (GCE) - a coalition of international and regional development NGOs, national coalitions and teachers unions in over 150 countries - published this report. This will be released in regionally coordinated campaign activities through June 29 to July 1 in countries all over the Asia South Pacific as part of the July 1 White Arm band day campaign of the Global Call to Action Against Poverty (G-CAP).
Must Do Better marks countries on five basic indicators: Complete Basic Education, State Action on Free Education, Quality Inputs, Gender Equality and Overall Equity.
The report demonstrates that 11 out of 14 countries are doing poorly in ensuring free, basic education of good quality to their citizens. Eight countries get marks of 'C' to 'F' indicating poor performance even in just ensuring access to basic education. Half of the countries in this report fail the gender equality marks. This observation comes at a crucial time. In the year 2005, the first of the Education for All (EFA) and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) targets - ensuring gender parity in classrooms - falls due. It is already admitted that 75 countries all over the world (representing 60 per cent of the countries who pledged to this goal) will miss the 2005 targets.
Inaction now would be a scandalous loss of opportunity since achieving the gender targets in education is not impossible as the performance of seven countries in this report demonstrates. Of those who have achieved gender parities, Sri Lanka and Thailand set good examples in working towards sustaining these gains with state action curbing user fee charges. User charges in education had been identified as a major deterrent to poor girls entering and completing their schooling, thus affording them a fair chance to change their future through learning.
Bangladesh's commitment to eliminate user fee, along with cash stipends to support poor girls has therefore earned it a high mark in this report - a 'B' for 'state action'- recognition of the state's hard work to end the historical disadvantage of girls and women in education, worth emulating. Thailand, China and Malaysia matched their high scores in gender equality with equally high marks for quality education demonstrating further that firm commitment by states and adequate investments in education benefiting girls is eminently possible.
This is how the class and its students are placed in July 2005 from the highest to the lowest rank (A-F): Thailand and Malaysia (A), Sri Lanka (B), Philippines and China (C), Vietnam (D), Bangladesh, Cambodia, India and Indonesia (E), Nepal (F), Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Pakistan (F).
Even if all developing countries substantially increase their own education investments, however, many would still need additional support from rich countries in order to achieve the Education for All targets and the MDGs. It is therefore deeply worrying that bilateral and multilateral aid to basic education in low income countries, although it increased to $1.7 billion in 2003, is still only about one-fifth of what is needed. For only $5.5 billion more per year, quality, free education can be provided to every child, unlocking the full power of education to beat poverty. This amounts to less than two and a half days' global military spending. The positive examples in this report, notwithstanding, the poor performance of countries covered in this report represents an over-all failure of political commitment and woefully inadequate investments to education, thus consigning 216 million boys and girls away from primary and secondary schools and 508 million women and men denied literacy skills in the countries covered in this report alone.
Must Do Better seeks to serve as a wake-up call to world leaders and citizens alike to make education for all a reality.
Must Do Better is available at the ASPBAE website. The report will be launched in 8 countries in the first week of July. In Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, Indonesia, Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea the National Coalitions for Education would launch the report inviting ministers; ambassadors of G8 countries; government officials; media and civil society.
Further Information:
For more information, please visit the Asian South Pacific Bureau of Adult Education (ASPBAE) or Global Campaign for Education (GCE) websites.
You may also contact Maria Khan, secretary-general, Asian South Pacific Bureau of Adult Education (ASPBAE) at aspbae@vsnl.com or Anne Jellema, Global Coordinator, Global Campaign for Eucation (GCE) at anne@campaignforeducation.org.

Date Created: 6/28/2005 11:09:10 PMCopyright 2005

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