INCHEON, Republic of Korea — At this year’s World Education Forum held from May 19 to 22, international agencies and delegates adopted The Declaration on the Future of Education, also known as the Incheon Declaration, in the hopes of improving and providing quality education for children around the world in the coming decades.
The World Education Forum, or WEF, was listed on the agenda of the international education community as one of the most important events of the year, as it detailed the successes in global education, as well as outlined what needs to be the next step in making sure education is having an influential effect. Over the course of four days, attendees drafted what is being called the Incheon Declaration, in honor of the forum’s location, under the mission statement, “Equitable and inclusive quality education and lifelong learning for all by 2030. Transforming lives through education”.
The Declaration comes on the heels of the Education for All movement, which was adopted in 1990 and focused on ensuring basic primary education was available to children everywhere. Though primary school enrollment levels have increased dramatically in the last two decades, according to UNICEF, there are still 58 million children not in school. Children in many countries, especially girls, continue to be hit hardest by deleterious circumstances, like conflict, natural disasters and poverty. Since the goals of Education for All were not met with precision, it will be the job of the Incheon Declaration to finish the task while working toward new goals.
UNESCO said, “The Incheon Declaration will be implemented through the Education 2030 Framework for Action, a road map for governments to adopt by the end of the year. It will provide guidance on effective legal and policy frameworks for education, based on the principles of accountability, transparency and participatory governance.”
The Declaration acknowledges that the Millennium Development Goals have made an impact, but there are parts that could use significant alterations, specifically in its education goals. When the MDGs were created in the 1990s, the goal was to increase the most basic resources, such as improving food security, access to primary education, etc. It is of no doubt that these goals were met in many countries, but many have not been as fortunate to move along this path of progress. For that reason, the Incheon Declaration must be two-pronged in its mission- to finish the job of education MDGs, as well as work toward this new goal of sustainable, quality education for all.
According to Julia Gillard, Chair of the Global Partnership for Education and attendee at WEF, an audacious plan of action is required if we are to serve the educational needs of young students appropriately.
Gillard said, “2015 is a year for decisions to get education right for the decades to come…We – the international community – need to set ambitious goals and dare ourselves to take the bold steps necessary to achieve them by 2030.”
This mission of the Incheon Declaration is a bold one, and will require the efforts of governments and stake holders in education everywhere. Most importantly, it requires a great deal of financial support, and in this vein, the education community and WEF attendees are urging governments and policymakers to effectively allocate funds to education budgets. Though providing, refining and improving the education of the world’s children is a dauntless task, the Incheon Declaration is a necessary step if this generation is to set a proper example for those to come.
– Candice Hughes