Queen Rania attends Global Education First Initiative reception in New York

26-09-2013 07:01 PM

Ammon News - NEW YORK (Petra)Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah asserted that access to learning must not come at the expense of actual learning, because "the measure of success is not only how many children enroll in school, but also, what they learn there." Queen Rania made these remarks at the Global Education First Initiative (GEFI) reception held yesterday in New York to launch the Learning Metrics Task Force (LMTF) assigned to make recommendations on how learning should be measured, and how this measurement can improve education quality and outcomes, and the overall learning experiences of children and youth around the world.

Addressing about 250 global leaders from governments, international organizations, and civil society, Her Majesty said: "If poor parents are encouraged to make sacrifices and send their children to school on the promise of a better future, if those children leave school empty handed, unable to read or write after three or four years, unable to improve their economic prospects and those of their families then, not unreasonably, disillusionment and disappointment set in. But that's not the worst of it." "The greatest risk is that children out of class," Queen Rania added. "Girls are pulled out first, parents are reluctant to send younger siblings to school, enrollment rates decline, the foundations for post-primary learning aren’t secured, and the progress for which we have all fought so hard unravels fast." Her Majesty explained that learning can be improved and education goals can be re-energized now and into the future through better knowledge, better metrics, and better measurement, which is the premise of the LMTF.

"The metrics which the Task Force are collating will help the education community and national governments to ‘know better’ what’s learned from early childhood to lower secondary and how it’s measured. And the timing couldn’t be more critical," the Queen noted.

As a member of U.N. Secretary General's High-level Panel (HLP) formed to advise on the global development agenda beyond 2015, Her Majesty told the audience that the panel recommended that equitable learning must be at the heart of any new set of targets, and that it includes all children, youth, and adults at all levels of education and training.

Her Majesty then added: "We call for a data revolution to better inform progress. The Learning Metrics Task Force is one of the keys that can help turn our post-2015 ambitions into lasting actions especially if they are expanded to include all levels of learning, including vocational and workforce skills." Queen Rania also called on the audience to ensure the new metrics focus on measuring learning amongst girls, the impoverished, and those living in conflict and fragile states, because education can have the greatest impact on their lives.

Also during the reception, which was convened by UNESCO through its Institute for Statistics and the Center for Universal Education at the Brookings Institution, LMTF released its recommendations for filling the global data gap on learning and helping build country-level capacity for measuring progress.

Other speakers and attendees included President of Malawi Joyce Banda, Director-General of UNESCO Ms. Irina Bokova, President of Liberia Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education Gordon Brown, UNICEF/Global Partnership for Education Board Chair Interim and LMTF Co-Chair Geeta Rao Gupta, Director of the Universal Center for Education at Brookings Institute Rebecca Winthrop, President of Tunisia Moncef Marzouki, Head of Queen Rania Teacher Academy (QRTA) Board of Directors and member of the (LMTF) Dr. Tayseer Al-Nuaimi, and Vice-President of the National Education Association Lily Eskelsen Garcia.

The Global Education First Initiative reception was organized by the Center for Universal Education at Brookings, UNESCO Institute for Statistics, UNESCO/Global Education First Initiative, Global Partnership for Education, UNICEF and the UN Secretary General's office.

On the same day, Her Majesty also attended the Clinton Global Citizen Awards ceremony and presented Malala, the young Pakistani girl who was shot by Taliban on her way to school earlier this year, with the civil society award.

Queen Rania introduced Malala and explained that her story is a lesson in how one young girl can inspire a global movement to positive change. Her Majesty also praised Malala for her will to survive and her amazing efforts in advocating for children's rights to education, especially girls.

The Clinton Global Citizen Awards were established in 2007 to recognize extraordinary individuals who have demonstrated visionary leadership in solving pressing global challenges.

Other recipients of this year's award included Elias Taban, National Bishop at the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of South Sudan and Uganda; Bunker Roy, Founder of the Barefoot College; Michael Bloomberg, Mayor of the city of New York and Jessamyn Rodriguez, Founder of Hot Bread Kitchen.

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