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Press Releases, 11/23/2012 | Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland

Finland stresses high-quality education at the Global Education for All meeting in Paris

Press Release 275/2012
22 November 2012

Finland stresses the importance of high-quality education at the Global Education for All meeting held at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris from 21 to 23 November. The objective of the meeting is to accelerate the achievement of the UN Millennium Development Goals in the field of education. At the same time, States and international organisations are urged to increase support to Education for All.

Development and education ministers as well as experts from more than 80 countries are attending the high-level meeting. Finland is participating as one of the long-term supporters of the Education for All programme. The Finnish delegation to the meeting is led by Director General Jorma Julin of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

Based on the UN Millennium Development Goals, the Education for All programme was established in Dakar, Senegal in 2000. Its aim was to offer everyone the possibility of an education by the year 2015. The programme entails commitment, among others, to improving the quality of early childhood education, providing access to basic education and increasing literacy, especially among women and girls. The objective of the Global Education for All meeting in Paris is to bind States to removing barriers to education.

Reducing youth unemployment and the development of skills among young people is another central theme of the meeting. In 2011, the world had 29 million fewer jobs than before the economic crisis. The Education for All Global Monitoring Report published by UNESCO in October warns that young people’s unemployment, lack of prospects and frustration are a threat to the peaceful development of societies. At the same time this means a significant waste of capital that developing countries need for economic growth.

The intention is also for the high-level meeting on education to be a venue for the exchange of information and experiences on good practices. A side event organised in connection with the high-level meeting will discuss the PISA programme, a joint programme of the OECD member countries that provides internationally comparable data on the learning results of 15-year-old students. Finland has done very well in the PISA comparisons.

Two thirds of the world's illiterate persons are women. At the meeting Finland emphasises the importance of education especially for girls and women in reducing poverty.

Recently, attention has again focused on the importance of education as a promoter of development. In September UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon proposed a new Education First initiative, which aims to strengthen support for education among the world’s States and international organisations, civil society organisations and the private sector.

In conjunction with the Global Education for All meeting, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova and Ambassador Antti Kuosmanen will sign an agreement on Finland’s support for UNESCO in 2012–2013. In addition to its UNESCO membership fee, Finland allocates 2.5 million euros in development assistance to support UNESCO. Finland’s support is targeted especially for UNESCO’s Education for All programme in order to provide technical assistance to developing countries.

Additional information: Minister Counsellor Anne Huhtamäki, Permanent Delegation of Finland to UNESCO, Paris, tel. +33-1-45 68 34 32, +33-6-25 58 69 49, Attaché Anitta Talja, Political Department, tel. +358 9 1605 6414

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Updated 11/23/2012

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