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Policy Advocacy








Policy Advocacy

The consensus built by the international community on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Sustainable Development Goal 4, in particular, offers remarkable opportunities to advance the right to education and lifelong learning for all. There are undeniably several policy platforms on education that civil society and ASPBAE can engage in to advance education rights but the SDG policy framework will undoubtedly dominate the attention of governments, donors and other development stakeholders in the coming period. There is also wider recognition that all the SDGs are interconnected, therefore the argument that education is key to achieving all the SDGs is gaining traction. This presents wider opportunities for civil society to push for the right to education and lifelong learning that is embedded squarely in the efforts to end poverty and achieve social justice, gender equality, sustainable development and a lasting peace.

However, the solid promises that the SDGs and indeed what other global policy commitments hold for quality basic, youth and adult education will only be truly met if these are translated into concrete, credible, costed plans and programmes that are implemented well especially at the country level.

Governments will need to assume their roles as duty bearers, expanding and strengthening public education systems that are attentive to the SDG 4 agenda and meet their obligations to ensure the right to education of all.

CSOs need to persevere so the Education 2030 agenda is concretised, adequately resourced and well implemented faithful to the full spirit and aspirations of SDG 4 and contextualised within the current development realities of the region and respective countries.

As such, ASPBAE’s Policy Advocacy Objectives for the period are defined as follows:

invertedcomma.jpgPreserve the gains of the earlier period and ensure that the full SDG 4 agenda is pursued and implemented. Attempts to water down the agreed global consensus should be effectively challenged.

Civil society and ASPBAE need to be attentive to preventing regression from commitments to the following –

  • 12 years of free, publicly funded primary and secondary education of which 9 years are compulsory; at least one year of free and compulsory pre-primary education./li>
  • ‘Leaving no one behind’ in education: high priority to ensuring equity, inclusion, and non-discrimination in education, expressed in defined, fully-resourced measures to reach excluded and discriminated groups, especially vulnerable women and youth.
  • Gender equality: while gains have been registered in gender parity in primary education, gender equality remains an outstanding challenge. It is imperative to root out the causes of inequality between women and men by addressing unequal gender relations and tackling structural barriers such as discriminatory legislation and macro-economic policies, prejudicial social norms and harmful practices, with education a major arena to combat gender injustice and inequality.
  • Quality education at all levels of education, including in non-formal youth and adult education. Civil society needs to challenge narrow conceptions of education quality and the regime of high stake standardised testing, whilst promoting quality education that is transformative, develops critical thinking, curiosity, creativity, and is directed at the full development of the human personality. Serious attention to filling the teaching gap with qualified, trained, motivated teachers/educators is critical to meeting the SDG 4 targets.
  • Promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all: Civil society will need to press for defined policies, institutional strategies and strengthened publicly funded systems for lifelong learning. This includes provision of multiple and flexible learning pathways through the whole educational system, strengthening linkages and synergies between the formal and non-formal systems of education; recognition, validation and accreditation of learnings through non-formal and informal education; strengthened delivery systems for youth and adult non-formal education such as Community Learning Centres (CLCs).
  • Youth and adult literacy, recognising that millions of youth and adults are still denied their right to literacy skills, with Asia being home to the largest number of these. The retreat of governments from prioritising youth and adult literacy needs to be challenged.
  • Skills for life and decent work, attentive to the learning needs, especially of marginalized youth and women, realizing that they are disproportionately impacted by unemployment and underemployment, with young people more than likely to be unemployed than adults and women in larger numbers suffering unemployment and vulnerable employment. Skills for life, decent work and livelihoods with dignity should be pursued in formal, non-formal, and informal settings, building clear pathways between the different education streams, valuing skills attained through experience and facilitating school to work transitions. Skills training should focus not only on work-specific skills but wider transferable skills enabling learners to be critically aware, knowledgeable about their rights, be capable of working with others and in groups, able to analyse situations, and participate meaningfully in decisions that impact their lives.
  • Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) and Global Citizenship Education (GCED): SDG 4.7 speaks about strengthening education’s contribution in the fulfilment of human rights, peace, responsible citizenship, gender equality, sustainable development, and health. Non-formal youth and adult education are critical in equipping communities with the necessary tools – knowledge, skills, attitudes - to cope with the impacts of climate change; or growing intolerance, escalating violence,bigotry, attacks on democratic space – and the abilities to help define a more peaceful, just, sustainable development path.

invertedcomma.jpg To sustain advocacy for increased and better financing for the new education agenda, ensuring stronger public education systems, and check the unregulated drive for the privatisation and commercialisation of education.

ASPBAE will –

  • Press for increased education budgets to at least 6% of the GDP and 20% of total public expenditure; and improved allocations, especially attentive to considerations of equity, inclusion and non-discrimination.
  • Advocate for improved domestic resource mobilisation by widening the tax base primarily through ending harmful tax incentives usually accorded to multinational companies and preventing tax evasion practices of big business enterprise.
  • Lobby for the adoption of regulatory frameworks and accountability mechanisms on private engagement in the education sector and counter the privatisation push in education of the private business sector and key proponents, particularly the international financial institutions and certain donors.
  • Advocate for increased Official Development Assistance (ODA) to close the funding gaps to meet the full SDG4 agenda, targeting countries and communities most in need.

invertedcomma.jpg To press for institutionalised civil society participation in national, regional/sub-regional, and global education policy spaces; with broad-based, multi-stakeholder, participatory character of SDG and SDG4 mechanisms and platforms promoted at national, regional, and global levels.

These advocacy objectives will be pursued through evidence-based campaigns and policy engagements, through coordinated and complementary initiatives at national, regional, and international levels -

  • Advocacy efforts will be pursued in partnership and solidarity with other regional and global civil society networks and actors sharing common perspectives and aspirations as ASPBAE.
  • As part of is advocacy efforts, ASPBAE will pursue policy research, information and media work, lobbying and policy dialogue, citizens monitoring and budget tracking actions, and social mobilisation.
  • It will involve lobby work and engagement with UNESCO, other UN agencies, donors, and financing bodies at the regional and global levels for effective coordination and capacity-support to national governments on how to effectively translate the Education 2030 Framework for Action and SDG 4 into clear policies, strategies, indicators, guidelines and the plans to generate the resources for the full financing these require.
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