UN Millennium Development Library: Toward Universal Primary Education
Investments, Incentives and Institutions
The Millennium Development Goals, adopted at the UN Millennium Summit in 2000, are the world's targets for dramatically reducing extreme poverty in its many dimensions by 2015 income poverty, hunger, disease, exclusion, lack of infrastructure and shelter while promoting gender equality, education, health and environmental sustainability. These bold goals can be met in all parts of the world if nations follow through on their commitments to work together to meet them. Achieving the Millennium Development Goals offers the prospect of a more secure, just, and prosperous world for all. The UN Millennium Project was commissioned by United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan to develop a practical plan of action to meet the Millennium Development Goals. As an independent advisory body directed by Professor Jeffrey D. Sachs, the UN Millennium Project submitted its recommendations to the UN Secretary General in January 2005. The core of the UN Millennium Project's work has been carried out by 10 thematic Task Forces comprising more than 250 experts from around the world, including scientists, development practitioners, parliamentarians, policymakers, and representatives from civil society, UN agencies, the World Bank, the IMF, and the private sector. This report lays out the recommendations of the UN Millennium Project Task Force on Education and Gender Equality. In the education sector, the Task Force recommends that countries nowoff track expand access, overcome demand-side barriers, and implement institutional changes to make the education system more responsive and accountable. As part of a compact with low-income countries working toward the goal of 100% primary school completion by 2015, donors and the international community must fulfill commitments already made under the Fast Track Initiative, and commit to still greater levels of support.
Table of Contents
Part I: Setting the stage * The task force's contribution * Task force methods * Audience and organization of the report * The contribution of the task force * Education and society: multiple benefits, unrealized potential * Education is society's main instrument for reproducing itself and can be a key ingredient for social change * Education is an end in itself and has tremendous benefits for individuals and society * The benefits of education are conditioned by the context * The Goals and the history of goal-setting in education * Trends in primary education and gender parity * A host of factors affect enrollment and retention rates * Learning achievement needs to be measured * Conclusions and future prospects * Part II: Education systems in developing countries: income, institutions, and incentives * Education systems in developing countries * High-performing educational systems can achieve results even with limited resources * Countries with low-performing systems need to address a variety of governance problems * Strategies for creating more and better educational opportunities * Strategy 1: get out-of-school children into school * Strategy 2: create better institutions, increase transparency, and provide better incentives * Financing the education Goals * Part 3. Forging an international compact for education: roles and responsibilities of donors and developing countries * A global compact for basic education * What donors should do * Recommendation 1: support bold political leadership and provide firm financial commitments to make Education for All and the Fast Track Initiative work * Recommendation 2: reform the donor business * Recommendation 3: use a transparent accountability framework for reporting * Recommendation 4: invest in genuine evaluation * A call to action *