EU's ambitious goal: Basic education for all by 2030

A classroom in Ghana. Photo by: Ben Grey / CC BY-SA

After the World Bank promised to end extreme poverty by 2030, now the European Union takes a similar step on the post-MDG agenda and commits to providing basic education to every child in the same timeframe.

During a meeting of EU leaders in Brussels, the European Commission announced on Thursday that it will allocate at least 20 percent of its 2014-2020 aid budget for human development and social inclusion, with as much as €2.5 billion ($3.2 billion) for education.

In addition, European Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs made a pledge to ensure that by 2030 “every child will be able to complete basic education, regardless of their circumstances and have basic literacy and numeracy skills.“

“I find it unacceptable that there are still 61 million children who don’t have access to basic education today … every child has the right to a quality education, no matter where they live,” Piebalgs said in a statement.

The ambitious goal for 2030 was announced at a high-level event on education and development, where the European Union highlighted spending €4.2 billion on education from 2007 to 2011 and helping 9 million students receive primary education in developing countries since 2004.

Many children, though, are still waiting to even learn to read. According to UNESCO, education is the best possible investment against exclusion, inequalities and poverty: If all children in poor countries could read, global poverty would fall by 12 percent.

Enrolment in primary education in developing regions, one of the 2015 MDGs, was accomplished by 90 per cent in 2010, up from 82 per cent in 1999.

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    Carlos Santamaria

    Carlos is a former associate editor for breaking news in Devex's Manila-based news team. He joined Devex after a decade working for international wire services Reuters, AP, Xinhua, EFE ,and Philippine social news network Rappler in Madrid, Beijing, Manila, New York, and Bangkok. During that time, he also covered natural disasters on the ground in Myanmar and Japan.

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