What is the Global Education First Initiative?

The necessity for global education has always been present, but what many may not know is that worldwide, 61 million primary-aged children are out of school, of which more than half are girls. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon seeks to remedy this with the Global Education First Initiative – a program that works to raise awareness of the necessity of education as well as to provide better access to education, as well as to improve the quality of learning for every child the program puts into school.

In order to put every child in school, some major goals for development include eliminating cost barriers to attending school, identifying and aiding those that need nutrition and health support, eliminating the gender disparity, and building millions of new classrooms around the world, especially in rural and crisis-affected areas. The second focus of the initiative, to improve quality of learning, is going to be met by training of teachers and improving learning materials. These measures will insure that children are more ready for further education as well as for life outside of school – with proper education come far more opportunities for success in life.

The last major focus of the initiative is to foster global citizenship, or in other words, promote peace, community, and innovation throughout the world through education. In the words of Ban Ki-moon, “The world faces global challenges that require global solutions. Education must cultivate an active care for the world and for those with whom we share it”. Ki-moon sees education as a driving force for human development that will drive down inequalities and improve health while fostering solidarity around the globe.

This push for education has been heartily embraced by education rights activist Malala Yousafzai, who has volunteered with the UN to speak on July 12 in favor of the right to education for girls, and for all those who may desire it. As a survivor of extreme violence because of her advocacy, Malala’s message is clear: “…that all students should be given the chance to attend school with adequate safety. Obtaining education is every man and woman’s birth right and no one is allowed to take away this right from them”.

In honor of Malala’s efforts, and in part encouraged and inspired by the Global Education First Initiative, the UN will be launching a global petition called A World at School – Stand With Malala as an effort to establish universal primary education by December 2015. It is the hope of the United Nations that someday universal education will be achieved and that because of this the world will become a more stable, healthier, and happier place.

– Sarah Rybak

Sources: Global Education First, Women News Network
Photo: Global Education First