ICAE’s Comments to the draft Executive Summary of the Global Consultation on Education

ICAE’s General Secretariat believes that this summary reflects, to a great extent, the diversity of voices who participated in the different consultations on Education. Nevertheless we feel important to emphasize the following priorities and recommendations that were also stated in several consultations:
The human right to education, not only must be inserted in the post-2015 sustainable development agenda as an explicit goal, but also should be considered in all other goals as a central axis for the achievement of all other sustainable and millennium development goals. For this, it is necessary to see education’s link with the fulfillment of other human rights and social, economic, cultural and political rights.

Also, a clear articulation of post 2015 Education for All (EFA) goals, MDGs and SDGs is needed. The next sustainable development agenda must develop education targets for each phase of the education life cycle –from early childhood education, primary, secondary and tertiary, as well as adult and young people’s education-.

To promote adult learning and education, as well as adult literacy, should be considered a main target in the agenda. A key function of adult learning is to help people to understand, adapt to and to shape the social and economic changes that affect them. This will be more than needed if we want to shift to a new sustainable development paradigm.
Finally, to guarantee educational policies for equity and inclusion most be a top priority in the post 2015 sustainable development goals. For this it is necessary that Governments commit to a quality, public, free education, based on scientific, social and cultural knowledge.


International Council for Adult Education, ICAE and its Gender Office, GEO welcomes the results of the consultation process and the support to continue to promote Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) beyond the UN Decade, as well as the commitment to capacity building.
For ICAE-GEO, the post-2015 framework and its goals should be grounded in and reflect existing human rights instruments and agreements.  Experience to date with education rights in the development agenda suggests that a post-2015 framework should consider a clear articulation of EFA, MDGs and SDGs.

ICAE GEO believe that the commitments to human right to education should be strengthen, as well as recognize that an integral aspect to human rights for all necessarily includes universal access to free education at secondary and tertiary levels too. Moreover   if people are to play a full part in securing sustainable development, lifelong learning should be recognize as an imperative need  including formal, non-formal and informal education at all levels.

Commitments to concrete actions, and State’s responsibility to adult education, Lifelong learning, formal and non-formal education with a popular education approach  should be addressed to overcome all forms of discrimination, thus, reproducing gaps on account of gender, race, ethnicity, geographical location. Special attention should be given to sponsoring policies that secure equality of voice, representation, recognition, empowerment as autonomous citizens.

The contents of education for sustainable development addressing women and man through their life cycle should focus on strategies to understand, accept and adapt towards environmental change. These contents should have a holistic approach, be interdisciplinary and include   the key dimensions of sustainable development (economic, social, environmental and cultural).

ICAE Members Comments

Alan Tuckett President International Council for Adult Education from United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland commented on the Discussion “Executive Summary (Zero Draft): Thematic Consultation on Education in the post-2015 agenda.

ICAE welcomes the consultation, and the recognition of lifelong learning in the overall post 2015 aim. We regret the omission of the weak performance in addressing EFA goals 3 and 4 in the introduction – and the failure to shift the percentage of women -64%- among the 780 million. To eradicate the gender gap and reach marginalised groups countries need support to develop household surveys with disaggregable data. The failure of the EFA monitoring process to address adult learning beyond literacy lies in the difficulty in accessing good data. We must put that right for 2030. With 9 in 10 workers in sub Saharan Africa and India working in the informal economy we must stress the need for vocational education that includes informal and non-formal alongside formal education. On the literacy goal it is vital that women get the right to read, first as a fundamental human right, second because their children do better when mothers read, and women are the key to improvements in health and sanitation too. At present the draft demonstrates a broad enthusiasm for lifelong learning but when it comes to the detail, it is overwhelmingly about children and youth. lifelong learning means life long!

Maria Khan Maria Khan, Secretary General, ASPBAE from India commented on the Discussion “Executive Summary (Zero Draft): Thematic Consultation on Education in the post-2015 agenda”

Some comments from ASPBAE. On addressing Emerging Priorities
No 1) on Equitable access: Suggest reference to the importance of public education systems offering multiple learning pathways, entry and re-entry points – particularly advantageous to those who have fallen outside the system.
No. 2): on Quality: Drawing from the Asia Pacific consultation agreements, suggest edits on the 1st bullet point: Ensuring that there is an adequate supply of ….. teachers and competent school leadership. Suggest edits on the 2nd bullet: Focusing on relevant, context-based, measurable and equitable learning outcomes, … skills and competencies. The focus on learning and learning processes must be cognizant of multiple needs and circumstances, promote flexibility, respect for diversity and be combined with a focus on equity, ….
No. 3): on Gender equality: Suggest edits to read: Gender equality remains a strong priority, with a renewed focus on women’s literacy, enhanced access to post-basic ….
No. 4) on learning needs of other marginalized and vulnerable populations: section needs to be strengthened with reference to clear affirmative action policies, tracking systems to monitor progress in addressing inclusion and delivering good quality education to disadvantaged groups.
No. 5) Financing : Suggest stronger language on financing perhaps drawing on specific suggestions from the Asia-Pacific post 2015 consultation outcomes. Suggest an edit in current text as follows: A priority going forward is to ensure that there is adequate and sustainable financing for a comprehensive education agenda

Jose Roberto Guevara  – President ASPBAE, University Lecturer RMIT from Australia commented on the Discussion “Executive Summary (Zero Draft): Thematic Consultation on Education in the post-2015 agenda”

On Section 2.3 (7) Participation, good governance…: This section can do with stronger language on CSO, learners, community participation which should go beyond intermittent consultation, and should be institutionalised in formal mechanisms. Suggested insert: Participation, good governance and accountability, ….. which maximises the meaningful participation of all stakeholders, including civil society, in decision making processes and education governance bodies; Also, not sure if the use of ‘mutual accountability’ is useful here: it does not seem to capture state obligation to guarantee the right to education (a basic premise in this document). Also, this obligation should rest with national governments – not just education ministries. (8) On the post 2015 agenda: Propose an insert as follows: The consultation was clear about the need to have a common post-2015 education agenda, ….. on strengthened reporting mechanisms and processes at all levels including schools and communities. On Framing the Goal: The proposed ‘overarching goal’ sounds quite confusing i.e. what does ‘lifelong education’ mean? Propose instead: Equitable Quality Education and Lifelong Learning for All’, Also suggest adding in second para on “Moving beyond this broad goal..”: vi) a transparency and accountability mechanism where the role of civil society and other stakeholders (parents and learners) are laid down in the governance of education On Continuing the dialogue: There needs to be some reference to how this feeds into processes especially involving governments and country-level stakeholders Thanks.

Nirantar Nirantar Center for Gender and Education from India commented on the Discussion “Executive Summary (Zero Draft): Thematic Consultation on Education in the post-2015 agenda”

Website: http://www.nirantar.net

It is heartening to see that the document recognizes Education as a fundamental human right essential for individual empowerment and as a foundation for development.  The discussions in the paper have only sporadic mention of the need to work on Adult Literacy and Education. We would like to bring this issue of Adult literacy to the forefront, and would particularly like to highlight women’s literacy, an issue that remains on the margins, even in this document.

A.    Concerns and recommendations for the current document:

1.     Concern: the need to recognise and address women’s literacy
The document states the need for explicit commitments for adult literacy but fails to articulate the way to move forward. Although Lifelong learning does provide an opportunity to include adults, more sustained efforts, policies and concrete strategies, particularly to address the adult women’s Literacy, are required to realize it. Literacy has been mainly understood, as a right of children and young people. Women have been marginalised in terms of access to education and quality learning. Their needs to become literate have not been recognised adequately.

Literacy is among the key elements that facilitates women’s empowerment. To ensure their involvement in socio-economic processes, access to sustained literacy interventions is indispensible. Addressing the needs of millions of adult women who remain non literate in several countries is therefore an urgent task and this document must take that into account.

1)   2. Concern: the need for a holistic understanding of literacy
Literacy is critical for autonomy, self-expression, accessing entitlements and challenging exploitation. This is important as in the document, ‘adult education’ is used interchangeably with ‘vocational training’ or ‘functional literacy’, and few initiatives integrate adults’, especially women’s empowerment and social transformation within the educational framework.

Adult education, and in particular women’s literacy, needs a longer term commitment and investment of time and resources. Access to literacy should not be confined to the idea of acquiring the reading, writing, functional and vocational skills. Rather it should play a transformatory and critical role in understanding one’s life and its contextual realities. It should enable women to face life and critically analyse the multiple deprivations they face in terms of gender, race, ethnicity, class and geographical location. The focus of literacy interventions should be on women’s empowerment and social transformation; and not remain limited to ‘skill training’ or ‘functional Literacy’.
Experiences of groups working on literacy with women have demonstrated that literacy is critical in facilitating and sustaining processes of empowerment. There is also sufficient evidence from the field to show that women engaged in a variety of activities like self-help groups, local governance, other grassroots federations, are coming forward and actively demanding relevant literacy interventions. Women need literacy to participate in development and governance processes as equals and come into leadership.
In order to ensure equitable access to literacy for adults, especially women, it is imperative that funds be allocated specifically for women’s literacy and women centric strategies be used to vision and run programmes.. Also the monitoring mechanisms for the commitments to adult literacy should look beyond numbers and regular mechanisms should be put in place to measure the performance and progress of the signatory countries.


See the Executive Summary (Zero Draft): Thematic Consultation on Education in the post-2015 agenda. Envisioning education in the post-2015 development agenda
Thematic Consultation on Education in the post-2015 agenda

For easier reading, download the PDF version here: http://www.worldwewant2015.org/node/349180

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1 Response to ICAE’s Comments to the draft Executive Summary of the Global Consultation on Education

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