Oral Interventions to the 2011 ECOSOC High-Level Segment

Baha’i International Community (Special, 1970) said that despite progress made in increasing enrolment rates and committing more resources to education, it had been difficult to achieve a cultural shift towards the recognition of the need to prioritize education for girls and women. Systematic approach to changing behavior and institutional norms was needed. Much more needed to be done to create lasting change for girls while taking into account the roles and attitudes of men and boys. In thousands of neighbourhoods around the world, the experience of the Baha’i community had yielded concepts refining the quality of educational processes. Education must address material, social, and spiritual dimensions of human development, and should provide the space to further develop technical, artistic, social, moral and spiritual capabilities. A process that built capacity at the grass roots created an environment for meaningful and sustained educational progress.

CIVICUS - World Alliance for Citizen Participation (General, 1995) inquired how governments could raise the role of civil society in providing education and in being relevant to the quality of education. Education needed to be relevant for people in rural areas. CIVICUS asked how education could empower if it was not relevant to people on the ground. CIVICUS asked how girls could be retained in school and thus become a driver in making society better. CIVICUS inquired how the Economic and Social Council could be made to be a more effective, legitimate and expert pillar of economic global governance.

The Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations (General, 2002) said that civil society had an essential role in education, which had been confirmed by Governments and representatives of non-governmental organizations. The urgent demand of civil society was that Governments fully implemented the commitments made in agreeing to the Millennium Development Goals. The primary responsibility rests with governments, from whom civil society expected revitalized political determination and enlightened budgetary decisions. The Millennium Development Goals were intimately tied up with international goals to secure women’s rights inter-alia. Civil society would not relent in advancing the cause of educating girls because educated girls were the bedrock of prosperous and stable societies.

The Convention of Independent Financial Advisors (Special, 2007) said there was a realization that the private sector was key to the eradication of poverty and that education was a necessity for social progress. Sustainable economic development in emerging and developing economies could not rely solely on the public sector. To broaden its role in high-quality education, the Convention of Independent Financial Advisors had partnered with UNITAR to jointly develop Internet based distance learning tools to teach financial sector officials through quality training for skills on governance, ethics and morality to overcome excess of financial markets.

The European Disability Forum (Special, 2003) said that persons with disabilities needed to be considered in examining achievements in education. Currently, persons with disabilities were excluded from all levels of education. Global data on persons with disabilities and education was lacking and this was unfortunately in itself a sign of discrimination. However, there was a consensus that children with disabilities were vastly overrepresented among children not attending school. Opportunities were lacking later in life for people without education. Children with intellectual disabilities and hard-of-hearing students needed special accommodation that should be provided by States.

The Foundation for Subjective Experience and Research (Special, 2008) said that primary education needed to be developed within a holistic approach since many factors outside of school affected the likelihood of children’s enrollment. For example, children and youngsters, at the age of 6 to 14, should not be left alone for long after school; similarly, dialogue, exchanges and information for a better comprehension of the other was extremely important, not only in fragile States; if such tools were missing, there was no basis for democracy and the implementation of human rights.

The International Alliance of Women (General, 1947) emphasised the existence of physical barriers that obstructed girls’ access to education. Among them were early marriages and pregnancies; violence and sexual harassment by teachers and schoolmates, which made it dangerous for girls to attend school; child labour as a source of income or to work at home; and traditional harmful practices, such as breast ironing. The International Alliance of Women urged countries to include the subject of early marriage, early pregnancy and harmful traditions in all information services for parents; to prevent pregnant girls and young mothers from dropping out; to provide comprehensive sexuality education for boys and girls in school; to prosecute teachers guilty of rape or who committed other forms of violence; and to make schools safer for girls.

The International Eurasia Press Fund (Special, 2007) said education was a main focus of the activities of the International Eurasia Press Fund. After Azerbaijan became independent, it had adopted western systems of education, but there was still much room for reform. Good quality education was a priority of recent reforms made by the Government. A 2005 United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization conference recognized gaps in education and illuminated strategies for moving beyond the gaps in the education sector. Rural areas lagged behind urban areas. There was also the problem of drop outs. Parents sometimes felt children could be of better use working in business or elsewhere. Conflict in Azerbaijan destroyed schools and forced people to leave their homes. The International Eurasia Press Fund provided professional and technical training centres and other education opportunities for victims of war, refugees, internally displaced people and others. They recommended that the Economic and Social Council should have high-level meetings, continue dialogue and step up regional activities, and raise its voice to end destruction from conflict and ensure refugees and others could return home.

The International Federation of University Women (Special, 1947) said in a joint statement that a new agenda of investment in education, especially secondary education for girls, could be the catalyst for achieving the Millennium Development Goals and sustainable social and economic development. Poverty put girls at a distinct disadvantage in terms of education. In the poorest households, approximately twice as many girls of secondary school age were out of school compared to their wealthier peers. Evidence suggested that girls not in formal education had their first sexual experience and first child earlier and were more likely to be poor and forced into early marriage, or coerced into sex; and too many adolescent girls would not complete secondary education. Comprehensive sexuality education, involving human rights, HIV prevention, gender equality, sexuality and active citizenship was a crucial part of formal and informal education. The international community should provide development assistance and the necessary resources to ensure that girls could enjoy access to secondary education and comprehensive sexuality education.

The International Federation Terre des Hommes (Special, 1961) said education was one of the pillars on which development could be built. Education helped children build the skills to make their way as adults and reduce poverty. Education was a human right and substantive progress had been made to achieving education for all. Yet, 67 million children were out of school. Terres des Hommes brought its contribution to the Millennium Development Goals by bringing education to children who did not have the possibility of enrolling in regular school, such as street children, children who worked as domestic servants and children with disabilities. Terres des Hommes was also keen to provide educational opportunities of relevance which had a concrete impact on children’s successful integration into their communities. An outstanding approach to education for marginalized groups and populations was the concept of “double knowledge” which provided both modern and traditional education in rural areas. This approach created continuity between generations. Terres des Hommes emphasized the need for an inclusive education system that reached out to the most marginalized among children.

The International Forum for Child Welfare (Special, 1995) said that although children had benefited from the protection derived from a common language under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and existing multilateral reporting frameworks examining States, nonetheless, the number of migrant or refugee children was increasing rapidly with globalization and significant increases in in-country migration. They were often vulnerable and marginalized, and suffered from separation from their parents, emotional trauma, acute poverty and vulnerability to trafficking and exploitation.

The Istituto Internazionale Maria Ausiliatrice (Special, 2008) welcomed the decision to dedicate the High-Level Segment of the Economic and Social Council to education. Istituto Internazionale Maria Ausiliatrize Salesiane di Don Bosco considered that education in the broadest and truest sense included every contribution to a human being’s development. Many new educational challenges were due to the increased vulnerability of children. Education should go beyond mere structures and supplies. Teaching staff needed to address the specific problems of children and thus those of society in general. Istituto Internazionale Maria Ausiliatrize Salesiane di Don Bosco recommended that States devoted particular attention to teaching staff.

The International Movement ATD Fourth World (General, 1991) said that extreme poverty was a key challenge affecting the achievement of internationally agreed goals related to education. The concept of education for all must be adapted according to the cultural context, reflecting ethnic, gender, rural and urban differences. The concept of education must emphasize extending and complementing the education provided by the community and working with parents to ensure that children received an education that would help them improve the living conditions and those of their community. Trust between teachers and children and parents living in poverty needed to be enhanced. The provision of free and quality education for all needed to be ensured.

The Legion of Good Will (General, 1999) said Legion of Good Will had secured positive results by helping to eradicate poverty through education. When they were encouraged and motivated, the communities assisted responded with very significant changes. The Legion of Good Will used its own methodology to address the needs of formal schools. By providing this support, the results of individual and collective transformation were increased. Optimizing resources and providing multi-stakeholder partnerships, the Legion of Good Will had been able to promote a platform of actions that guaranteed the complete development of students.

The New Future Foundation (Special, 2008) said it was important that young people on every part of the planet had the opportunity to enjoy their human right to education. Financial literacy programmes could teach young people, remotely, about economics. Over the long term, educating youth would benefit the world economy. E-learning and technology teaching methods should not replace more basic learning techniques. The availability of personal technology and electricity in developing countries was limited which was why this IT approach had limited results and also why alleviating poverty was important in achieving educational goals.

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (Special, 2000) said the Centre appreciated the opportunity to address Israel’s systematic violation of the right to primary education in the occupied Palestinian territory. Palestinian children were denied any meaningful education. Public schools of all grades had been extensively damaged during Israel’s military operations. Israel’s actions with regard to the right to education were inconsistent with its binding obligations under international law. The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights asked that the international community take all appropriate measures to end Israel’s repeated violations of international law, which inhibited basic human rights, including education, and the development goals in the Palestinian territory.

Save the Children (General, 1993) said 28 million children were out of school because of conflict and disasters. Without these children in school, the Millennium Development Goal on education would not be met. Save the Children emphasized that children should have access to education regardless of their situation. Education had not been prioritized in humanitarian emergency work or sufficiently funded in these situations. States should be held accountable for securing an equal right to a quality education and adhere to their obligations under international humanitarian law. States should reflect commitments to education in national budgets, secure essential funding for education in emergencies and protect education by implementing the key recommendations of the General Assembly resolution on the right to education.

In another intervention it also expressed that Minister Solheim had mentioned the importance of focusing on the vulnerable children in fragile or conflict-ridden States. Save the Children often thought of these children as falling in a blind spot but now knew how to better address education for these children. A displaced child could spend up to 12 years away from home. Parents, children and their communities desired to improve access to education. Save the Children asked the panellists for their advice on reaching children in conflict zones.

Soroptimist International (General, 1984) stressed the importance of bottom-top approaches and the benefits of working with local groups; and indicated that a positive impact could be achieved by consistently working with them. Proper sanitation facilities were a decisive factor for girls to be allowed to attend school. Soroptimist International recommended working to ensure quality of education should match the preoccupation with access; addressing the gender gap and preventing the risk of violence in school environments; ensuring that girls were not at risk of violence, assault or abuse on their way to and from school; and finally, employing a human rights based approach to education was necessary.

The United Network of Young Peacebuilders (Special, 2010) said that the burden of providing education should not be borne exclusively by governments. Education should be one that empowered and should at its core enable children to deal with adversity in non-violent ways. Peace education empowered children and teachers to transform challenging contexts and to create effective learning environments despite the lack of resources.

The World Association of Girl Guides and Girls Scouts (General, 2010) called on governments and the international community to accept that non-formal education was an essential part of the educational process and to mainstream a comprehensive approach to education in national educational systems; to strengthen the partnerships between formal and non-formal education to meet all educational needs; to introduce measures to improve the visibility of non-formal education, recognizing skills and competences attained through it; to provide recognition to organizations and institutions delivering non-formal education; and to include non-governmental organizations delivering non-formal education in decision-making processes at national and international levels.

The World Information Transfer (General, 2002) said that every child’s education began long before an individual entered school. Emphasis needed to be on helping the parent develop key behaviours in their offspring that would enable a child to adjust and adapt in a fast changing world. The fundamental concept of parenting healthy kids was maintaining the relationship between feelings and actions. The accepted stages and characteristics of development provided a framework for parenting strategies. Health had several meanings, referring to the mental and physical health of the child as well as the health of our planet.

The World Jewelry Confederation (Special, 2006) said the Confederation had strengthened its activities in support of the Millennium Development Goals with a focus on priority actions for implementing international goals and commitments with regards to high-level, quality education. Thanks to its network of national associations and commercial membership, the World Jewelry Confederation was a key player in promoting sustainable economic and social development in 40 countries where it was active. The World Jewelry Confederation had created the United Nations International Training Centre for Corporate Opportunities in May 2011. The Centre aimed at stimulating business around the world to embrace corporate social responsibility and adopt the principles of the UN Global Compact to contribute to the Millennium Development Goals.

World Vision International (General, 2004) said that, with less than four years left to achieve the Millennium Development Goals for education more, efforts were needed. Recent evidence showed that despite considerable investment in education no corresponding impact on quality had been achieved and children in low-income countries performed only at the third percentile of a high-income country distribution. World Vision was refocusing its education agenda to set reading targets for programme impact areas and to partner with other non-governmental organizations, the private sector and Governments to complement efforts, build capacities and secure local educational resources by engaging parents and communities themselves; these creative alliances would be necessary to close the quality gap and to assist the large numbers of children lacking functional levels of reading, basic mathematics and essential skills.