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Financing Youth and Adult Education

domingo 15 de fevereiro de 2009, por Nicole Bidegain ,

On the 29th January ICAE organized a panel on Financing Adult Education at the World Social Forum in Belem, Brazil. Around 50 people were present, mostly young people from Brazil but also other participants from Latin America, Africa and Asia.

The objectives of the session were: 1 )To discuss about the key challenges related to financing for youth and adult education based on the
findings of recent research conducted by ICAE members. 2) To exchange proposals to overcome the social debt on education. These proposals will be an input for
advocacy with governments at CONFINTEA VI and at the International Civil Society Forum (FISC, for its
Portuguese acronym) previous to CONFINTEA VI.

Firstly Graciela Riquelme from GEO- ICAE presented the findings of the research she conducted on
“Social Debt on Education for youth and adults in Africa, Asia, Latin America and developed countries:
estimation of resources needed”. The research estimates the volume of resources needed for responding to
the social demand on education for youth and adults who are illiterate as well as youth and adults who did
not conclude primary and secondary school. For example in some countries in Africa, Asia, Arab States and
Central America there is a need to increase more than 50% the educational budget to overcome adult
illiteracy. “The study shows that in most countries to spend 6% of the education budget in adult education
would be insufficient. In countries with the most critical situation that percentage would not even covered
10% of the illiterate population of 15 years and older” Graciela pointed out. She said that this represents a
social debt regarding the right to education of this population and that the allocation of resources shows
whether or not there is political will on the side of states regarding the right to education. We should
mobilize to achieve this 6% while keeping in mind that it represents a minimum contribution.

Secondly, Tanvir Muntasim, South Asia Policy Advocacy and
Campaigns Coordinator of ASPBAE presented the situation of
literacy in Asia as well as some political recommendations
regarding financing towards CONFINTEA VI. He said that
South and West Asia have the lowest adult literacy rates in
the world (59%) and two-thirds of Illiterate are women. This
is very worrying as it has remained unchanged over the last
two decades. “Literacy is a fundamental human right of
everyone. For this reason alone, governments must address
illiteracy guided by the Rights Based Approach framework.
But there is another important reason for addressing
illiteracy. The social cost of illiteracy is high and far outweighs the cost involved in eradicating illiteracy. “Even on a purely economic costing, benefits derived from being
literate exceed the costs” Tanvir said. Regarding CONFINTEA VI Tanvir presented some recommendations:
National adult education legislation and policy should guarantee the right of all adults to literacy and
education. The indivisibility of the EFA goals must be kept in mind while allocating resources. And at least
15% of ODA (Official Development Aid) should be allocated to education, with at least 60% of this allocated
to basic education including adult literacy and life skills programs.

Then Cecilia Alemany from AWID made a presentation on the
global governance complex and the Aid Effectiveness agenda.
She said that the small degree of accomplishment of the
agreements and proposals resulting from the UN Conferences of
the 90s led key actors at the international level to push for a
more restrictive framework and commitments regarding human
rights and social development. The Millennium Development
Goals (MDGs) became the new ‘mantra’ and donors started to
use MDGs as the priority for financing. “From a critical civil
society perspective MDGs erode the Human Rights agenda. There
are not sufficient to achieve development. They are very minimal
commitments and what is worst; probably they will not be met by
2015” pointed out Cecilia. In 2005 OECD (Organization for
Economic Co-operation and Development) and some developing countries signed the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness. This process is also part of this new restrictive
framework. Instead of pushing for the need to increase funding for development, the emphasis of the Paris
Declaration is on aid management and delivery system. Cecilia said that the focus should be on reducing
poverty and inequality as expressed in the Internationally Agreed Development Goals. In this sense civil
society organizations should participate at the decision making process at the OECD as well as at the
Development and Cooperation Forum of the United Nations.

AAfter some question from the audience, Sergio Haddad from the Executive Council of ICAE and Acao
Educativa formulated some ‘provocative’ questions and comments to the panelists. He asked why youth
and adult education are important and he responded because it is a human right. Sergio then asked why, if
the education of children and adults are both human rights. There is no equivalent relation between
allocated funds for children and adult education; which are the values, the criterion for financing? If rights
are equal, why is there no equal funding? Sergio said that the financial crisis shows not only the inefficiency
of the international financial architecture but also that when the money is needed for rescue banks, the
money appears.


Ver online : ICAE