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UNESCO calls for policy shift in education

By Mercy Ndirangu
 Some 250 million primary school children around the world are not able to read, write or count well enough to meet minimum learning standards. The children include boys and girls who have spent four years in school.

 This is contained in a new report that UNESCO commissioned under the auspices of the Institute of Statics and the Centre for Universal Education at the Brookings Institution.
 The report, Toward Universal Learning: Recommendations from the Learning Metrics Task Force, lays out a framework to put learning on the agenda and to track learning among the world’s children and youth in order to achieve education quality for all.
 The Principal Secretary for Education, Dr Belio Kipsang launched the report at Jogoo House.
 Dr Kipsang said taking children to school alone was not enough.
 “We need to ensure that they are also learning otherwise some of them end up leaving school and may engage in child labour to earn some income for their poor families,” he observed.
  The Chair of Learning Metrics Task Force (LMTF), Dzingai Mutumbuka, said education should equip learners with strong ability to read, write and count to enable them to be flexible.
“The jobs people are going to have in the next 10 years have not been identified,”  Mutumbuka observed, adding there was need for education to effectively prepare children for the future.
 The report calls for new global indicators to include “readiness to learn” in early childhood; skills and values for youth to be successful “citizens of the world”; and a “learning for all” indicator that would combine measures of education access, completion and reading into one statistic.

The task force also provides a framework of seven essential domains of learning that are essential for all children and youth to master as they prepare for their future lives and livelihoods.
More than 30 organisations, including national and regional governments, Education for All-convening agencies, regional political bodies, civil society, and donor agencies, have come together as the Learning Metrics Task Force to push for the global agenda on education to move from a focus on universal access to access plus learning.
 With input from more than 1,700 individuals in 118 countries, the task force has developed a series of recommendations to use existing assessments of learning as well as innovative, new measures to improve the opportunities and outcomes of all children.


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