Addressing the Successes and Failures of the Campaign for Universal Primary Education
The report card of the global campaign to achieve universal primary education (UPE), which began at the Jomtien Conference in 1990 and was reinforced by the Dakar Forum in 2000, is a blend of success and failure. Both present new challenges. Getting 40 million additional children into primary school between 1999 and 2007 was a considerable success. It has created a growing surge of children now looking for secondary schooling. In many developing countries they will not find it. However, on current projections the 20-year campaign for UPE will still leave 50 million children out of primary school by the target date of 2015. The paper proposes responses to each challenge. 400 million children aged 12 to 17 are not in secondary school. All feasible methods must be used to expand secondary systems. Open schooling, the application of distance learning at the secondary level, is a cost-effective way of increasing access. A primary requisite for completing the UPE campaign is to recruit and train 2 million teachers. To expand secondary education and replace retiring teachers will require an additional 8 million teachers. Scaling up teacher education requires much wider use of distance learning, which also provides a mechanism for the desirable reform of moving the focus from pre-service to in-service training.