The UNESCO has just published the GEM Report 2016 entitled Education for people and planet: Creating sustainable futures for all. This is the first report of a total of 15 annual documents and the first official one during the monitoring carried out by the ODS4.
This Report shows that, according to current trends, universal primary education will only be achieved in 2042, while universal lower secondary education will take until 2059; and universal higher secondary education will not come about until 2084. All of these dates are well after the 2030 deadline laid down for global commitments in the Sustainable Development Goals.
During the presentation in London, UNESCO’s Director General, Irina Bokova, stated that “the power of education is our message today. Education saves lives, education is the path to sustainability. This is why we need to act in new ways, to put education first. People do not live their lives in silos — their education is not separate from their health, environment, jobs, sense of security. We need education to be at every table, in peace-building, in urban planning, in healthcare.”
The GEM Report 2016 emphasises the untapped potential of education to enable goals to be achieved more quickly. According to the report, insufficient financing in education is limiting progress and there is a need for a radical change, particularly in low- and medium-income countries, so that education can be developed at all levels and the challenges tackled urgently.
It also shows that educational systems must pay more attention to environmental matters, since half of national educational content throughout the world makes no mention of climate change or environmental sustainability.
The presentation also stressed the fact that education must not be limited just to school and instead must continue throughout an individual’s life. The skills required to carry on a profession were particularly emphasised since, for example, two out of every three adults are financially illiterate.
Another of the report’s conclusions was that in equality in education increases the risk of violence and conflict. For example, in 22 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, in areas where the average levels of education are very low, people are 50% more likely to experience a conflict within a period of 21 years.