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Education

At just a few months from the deadline set for the Millennium Development Goals, many international education forums are already celebrating the considerable progress made since 2000. According to figures from the Global Partnership for Education, since these goal were set, 19 million more children have attended school, nearly half a million teachers have been trained and 37,000 new classrooms have been fitted out, in which the 218 million books that have been printed are being used. In addition, noticeable progress has been made in many schools in these countries in terms of gender parity, where the number of female students has come to equal that of male students.

However, these same forums also warn that there are still 57 million children under the age of 15 who do not have access to a school-based education, often due to a lack of infrastructure, to geographical problems or because they live in vulnerable or war-torn countries. Furthermore, the teaching that is available to them is a very long way off the minimum level of quality required to equip them with the means of achieving the educational, social and work-related goals that are vital for fulfilling their own individual potential. According to the latest monitoring report from the UNESCO programme Education for all, at the end of 2015, there will still be a shortage of 1.6 million teachers in developing countries.Class of Muslim girls

In this field, Spanish Cooperation's primary mission is to work with its partner countries in order to establish quality basic education, focusing on the most disadvantaged social groups and via a preparation-based approach designed to facilitate access to society and to the world of work. Understood as a basic service, our international cooperation works to guarantee that education systems in developing countries are built on active participation from the rest of society, through representative groups and institutions. As proof that this goal can be achieved, we point to the experience gained through globally recognised initiatives, such as the Literacy and Basic Adult Education Programmes (PAEBA) or the Vocational Schools Programme.

In this way, we work with these countries to start up new education systems or to strengthen those that are already in place, with a special focus on quality, universal and equitable access and inclusion. And we do all this in line with the principles of harmonisation and shared responsibility with other donors, civil-society organisations and private institutions.

Our key activities in terms of international cooperation for the education sector include:

  • Producing the guidelines that our education cooperation policy puts into practice, through programmes and initiatives designed to enhance and strengthen education systems in our partner countries; as well as to raise awareness in Spain about the critical global situation, through development education activities carried out in our schools.
  • Collaborating with other Development Cooperation participants in Spain, regional and local public entities and civil-society organisations in the design, planning, monitoring and funding of proposals for launching education programmes in developing countries.
  • Alignment with international targets through collaboration, participation and funding of international organisations such as UNESCO, its specialised agencies and Regional Office for Latin American and the Caribbean (OREALC); the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), UNICEF, the OEI and other international cooperation organisations for education.

In the words of the current Secretary-General of the United Nations, "education is the single best investment countries can make towards building prosperous, healthy and equitable societies. It unleashes potential in the individual and society to solve the problems of today, address the challenges of tomorrow and live in a world free of poverty, [because when] we put education first we can reduce poverty and hunger, end wasted potential and look forward to stronger and better societies for all."