Systems Of Formal Education Education Essay

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Education in the largest sense is any act or experience that has a formative effect on the mind, character or physical ability of an individual. In its technical sense, education is the process by which society deliberately transmits its accumulated knowledge, skills and values from one generation to another.

A right to education has been created and recognized by some jurisdictions: since 1952, Article 2 of the first Protocol to the European Convention on Human Rights obliges all signatory parties to guarantee the right to education. At world level, the United Nations' International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of 1966 guarantees this right under its Article 13.

Systems of Formal Education

Education is the process by which people learn:

Instruction refers to the facilitating of learning, usually by a teacher.

Teaching refers to the actions of a real live instructor to impart learning to the student.

Learning refers to learning with a view toward preparing learners with specific knowledge, skills, or abilities that can be applied immediately upon completion.

Systems of Formal Education

Preschool education

Primary education

Primary (or elementary) education consists of the first 5-7 years of formal, structured education. In general, primary education consists of six or eight years of schooling starting at the age of five or six, although this varies between, and sometimes within, countries. Globally, around 89% of primary-age children are enrolled in primary education, and this proportion is rising.

Under the Education for All programs driven by UNESCO, most countries have committed to achieving universal enrollment in primary education by 2015, and in many countries, it is compulsory for children to receive primary education.

The division between primary and secondary education is somewhat arbitrary, but it generally occurs at about eleven or twelve years of age. Some education systems have separate middle schools, with the transition to the final stage of secondary education taking place at around the age of fourteen. Schools that provide primary education, are mostly referred to as primary schools. Primary schools in these countries are often subdivided into infant schools and junior school.

Secondary education

In most contemporary educational systems of the world, secondary education comprises the formal education that occurs during adolescence. It is characterized by transition from the typically compulsory, comprehensive primary education for minors, to the optional, selective tertiary, "post-secondary", or "higher" education (e.g., university, vocational school for adults).

The exact boundary between primary and secondary education also varies from country to country and even within them, but is generally around the seventh to the tenth year of schooling. Secondary education occurs mainly during the teenage years. In the United States, Canada and Australia primary and secondary education together are sometimes referred to as K-12 education, and in New Zealand Year 1-13 is used. The purpose of secondary education can be to give common knowledge, to prepare for higher education or to train directly in a profession.

The emergence of secondary education in the United States did not happen until 1910, caused by the rise in big businesses and technological advances in factories (for instance, the emergence of electrification), that required skilled workers. In order to meet this new job demand, high schools were created and the curriculum focused on practical job skills that would better prepare students for white collar or skilled blue collar work. This proved to be beneficial for both the employer and the employee, because this improvement in human capital caused employees to become more efficient, which lowered costs for the employer, and skilled employees received a higher wage than employees with just primary educational attainment.

In Europe, the grammar school or academy existed from as early as the 16th century; public schools or fee-paying schools, or charitable educational foundations have an even longer history.

Higher education

Higher education, also called tertiary, third stage, or post secondary education, is the non-compulsory educational level that follows the completion of a school providing a secondary education, such as a high school, secondary school. Tertiary education is normally taken to include undergraduate and postgraduate education, as well as vocational education and training. Colleges and universities are the main institutions that provide tertiary education. Collectively, these are sometimes known as tertiary institutions. Tertiary education generally results in the receipt of certificates, diplomas, or academic degrees.

Higher education includes teaching, research and social services activities of universities, and within the realm of teaching, it includes both the undergraduate level (sometimes referred to as tertiary education) and the graduate (or postgraduate) level (sometimes referred to as graduate school). Higher education generally involves work towards a degree-level or foundation degree qualification. In most developed countries a high proportion of the population (up to 50%) now enter higher education at some time in their lives. Higher education is therefore very important to national economies, both as a significant industry in its own right, and as a source of trained and educated personnel for the rest of the economy.

Adult education

Adult education has become common in many countries. It takes on many forms, ranging from formal class-based learning to self-directed learning and e-learning. A number of career specific courses such as veterinary assisting, medical billing and coding, real estate license, bookkeeping and many more are now available to students through the Internet.

Alternative education

Alternative education, also known as non-traditional education or educational alternative, is a broad term that may be used to refer to all forms of education outside of traditional education (for all age groups and levels of education). This may include not only forms of education designed for students with special needs (ranging from teenage pregnancy to intellectual disability), but also forms of education designed for a general audience and employing alternative educational philosophies and methods.

Alternatives of the latter type are often the result of education reform and are rooted in various philosophies that are commonly fundamentally different from those of traditional compulsory education. While some have strong political, scholarly, or philosophical orientations, others are more informal associations of teachers and students dissatisfied with certain aspects of traditional education. These alternatives, which include charter schools, alternative schools, independent schools, and home-based learning vary widely, but often emphasize the value of small class size, close relationships between students and teachers, and a sense of community.

Indigenous education

Increasingly, the inclusion of indigenous models of education (methods and content) as an alternative within the scope of formal and non-formal education systems, has come to represent a significant factor contributing to the success of those members of indigenous communities who choose to access these systems, both as students/learners and as teachers/instructors.

Education is universally recognized as a fundamental building block for human development and one of the strongest instruments for reducing poverty. Education is key to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and is a powerful driver for development of individuals and society-improving health, gender equality, peace, and stability. For this reason, it is at the center of the World Bank's mission for a world free of poverty. The Bank works with governments through financing, analytic work, and policy advice to integrate education into national economic strategies and develop holistic and balanced education systems that produce results. The Bank aims to help countries achieve quality learning for all while investing in the skills and knowledge necessary for growth and competitiveness through effective education systems. It helps countries develop policies that address the need to expand global access to schooling, improve the quality of learning, and reach the poorest and most disadvantaged groups.

Ramping up Support to Education Worldwide

The Bank is one of the largest external funders of education in the developing world and has further increased this support in response to the economic crisis-which has threatened gains in education and put the poorest households at risk. New financing for education reached an all-time high, surpassing $5 billion in 2010. Of this, more than $2 billion was for zero-interest International Development Association (IDA) credits and grants to bolster education in the world's poorest countries, and provided almost $3 billion in support of education programs in middle-income countries through International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) loans. Today, the Bank manages a portfolio of $11.7 billion, with active education operations in 81 countries around the world. Since 2000, the World Bank has committed about $24 billion to support education-with more than $12 billion in support to IDA countries.

In March 2010, the Bank's Board approved financing for two large IDA education operations for India totaling more than $1 billion, designed to boost the number of children enrolling in and completing elementary school, and to improve the quality of engineering education across India. Additional financing for the India Second Elementary Education Project (SSA II) will help the Government of India implement a recent law which expands compulsory basic education for all children between the ages of 6-14. To further help countries achieve the education MDGs, the World Bank commits to increasing its IDA resources for basic education. From 2010-15, IDA support will increase by an additional $750 million, with a focus on the countries that are not on track to reach the education MDGs by 2015, especially in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. The additional resources will support innovative interventions that improve the access to good-quality schools for underserved populations and address the barriers to demand for those services.

The World Bank complements its global operations with leading work on international education policy, country-level analyses, and impact evaluations that generate stronger evidence about what works in education. Over the past five years, the Bank has worked to expand the portfolio of impact evaluations and harvest their lessons, especially in education and human development. Currently, 55 active and 42 completed impact evaluations in education (comprising more than 20% of all evaluations) evaluate measures to increase the demand for schooling or improve the delivery of education services. This type of work helps us better understand the impact of programs and interventions and builds an evidence base for informed policy interventions.

A Global Knowledge Bank and Partner for Education

The Bank is a source of knowledge for data, research findings, and best practices in global education policy and implementation. Generating and sharing this knowledge-through technical advice, publications, the web, media, and diverse training activities-is a key Bank priority. A major knowledge piece produced in conjunction with the World Food Programme, Rethinking School Feeding, reviews the important role of school feeding programs in increasing educational attainment and providing a social safety net for the poor, particularly during times of crisis. Additionally, the Bank helps countries with cross-country comparative analyses, such as for Chile's Education Quality Assurance System support, which helps analyze institutional reforms and benchmark system performance against higher-performing countries to help ensure effective education system innovations.

The Bank is a major player in various international education partnerships such as the Education for All Fast Track Initiative of which the Bank is the trustee and whose secretariat the Bank hosts. Highlights of new partnerships activities in the past year include the Russia Education Aid for Development (READ) Trust Fund and the work with United Kingdom's Department for International Development on the Partnership for Education Development. Additional support from donors, through initiatives such as the Irish Education Trust Fund and the Norwegian Education Trust Fund in Africa, has made substantial contributions to education.

Key Issues in Education

With the UN MDG Summit re-invigorating the international community, the Bank is focusing on ensuring education systems are able to build the skills necessary for today's world. Additionally, the World Bank is honing its attention on areas critical to closing the global learning gap. Substantial progress has been made toward the education MDG targets of universal primary completion and gender equity. Many countries have reached the education MDG targets, as the pace of primary school enrollment and completion has accelerated and gender parity in primary and secondary has evened out. According to the latest UN Millennium Development Goals Report (2010), the number of primary school-aged children unable to attend school has fallen from more than 100 million children at the start of the new millennium to an estimated 69 million youngsters in 2008. Countries have made investments and committed themselves to Education for All goals and policies, while the Bank and other donors have contributed to global progress by promoting good policy and leveraging more resources for education.

However, progress toward Education for All has been uneven, with many areas of the world not on track to achieve the MDGs by 2015. In 2008, almost half of the world's out-of-school children lived in Sub-Saharan Africa, and a more than a quarter of them lived in South Asia. Estimates show that one-third of out-of-school children live in areas affected by conflict. Inequities within countries, such as income, gender, regional disparities, and ethnicity greatly affect a child's chances of attending school. Children not in school are often the most difficult to reach. Better efforts must be made to address the issues of marginalization and vulnerability that keep these children out of the classroom. Additionally, efforts must be made to provide post-basic educational opportunities for the estimated 40 percent of secondary-school-aged children not enrolled in school. The Bank's work involves improving access to and the quality of post-basic education opportunities in both secondary and tertiary education.

Yet access to and completion of schooling is insufficient if children are not learning what they need to learn. Today, both national and international assessments show very low learning outcomes in most developing countries. Education systems must respond to rapid technological change and globalization, as countries become increasingly concerned with skills gaps that undermine their ability to compete in global markets and generate employment for their citizens. Skill formation is critical to a country's recovery from the global economic crisis and to its long-term development. Skills are at the core of improving an individual's job prospects and increasing a country's productivity and growth. An education system in which students attend school but do not learn is a lost opportunity, especially when one additional year of schooling raises earnings by 10 to 20 percent. Today, developing countries and emerging economies seek higher growth rates but face serious demographic challenges-from rapidly growing numbers of youth in Africa who have not yet mastered the basic competencies of writing and arithmetic and a "youth bulge" of new jobseekers in the Middle East, to a demographic transition of shrinking labor forces in Eastern Europe and East Asia. Making the most effective use of the workforce is vital for developing countries. It depends in large part on the ability of the education system to produce knowledge and skills. The education system must ensure clear learning standards, good teachers, adequate resources, and a proper regulatory environment for learning to take place. It must promote job-relevant skills that employers demand by developing the right incentive framework for both pre-employment and on-the-job training programs and institutions (including higher education). It must encourage entrepreneurship and innovation by creating an environment that encourages problem-solving skills and creativity. The Bank recently published Stepping Up Skills for More Jobs and Higher Productivity, a publication that presents a conceptual framework to help policymakers design systems that impart skills valuable to growth.

Education Sector Strategy 2020

The World Bank is developing its education strategy for the next ten years with "learning for all" as its goal. The new strategy focuses on how the Bank can help countries raise the effectiveness of their policies and their investments in education, and on how the Bank can contribute to the global knowledge and debate about improving learning. A broad consultation program early in the preparation of the strategy reached more than 60 countries and involved various groups of stakeholders-governments, civil society groups, nongovernmental organizations, private business, international donors, and youth. The second phase of worldwide consultations began in September 2010. The strategy will be discussed at the Executive Board in January 2011.,,contentMDK:20040939~menuPK:282393~pagePK:148956~piPK:216618~theSitePK:282386,00.html


The right to education: finding solutions to guarantee and finance education in LEDC's

Background Information

The State of the Right to Education Worldwide is the first global report to review the education laws and practice in 170 countries and to expose the hypocrisy whereby the right to free and compulsory education is loudly and universally proclaimed, and quietly and systematically betrayed. Few countries uphold the right to free and compulsory education in their laws and policies.

The result should serve as a wake up call to all those concerned with global education and poverty reduction. It exposes the global pattern of poverty-based exclusion from primary education, and calls for poverty reduction strategies to use the elimination of economic exclusion from education as a benchmark. The current reality - where education is priced out of reach of the poor - subverts human rights, and denies another generation its birthright: free and compulsory education worthy of the name.

Free and compulsory education for all the world's children forms the backbone of international human rights law but does not shape global educational strategies.

The global human rights minimum standards mandate that education be free so that it can be compulsory until the minimum age of employment. Although the law is more than 80 years old, the bitter reality of economic exclusion from education is evidenced in no less than 22 different types of charges, which are levied in open defiance of its requirements. The key problem is not the proverbial "insufficient public resources". The resource in the shortest supply is the political will to acknowledge and reverse economic exclusion, the necessary first step to achieving the right to education.

A major difficulty in realizing the right to education is the labyrinth of global education strategies with different visions of education. The UN, and its lead agency on education UNESCO, are formally committed to the right to education but many other global stakeholders are not. The United States government and the World Bank lead those who deny that education is a universal human right. That education should be free and compulsory is absent from the World Bank's educational vocabulary. Instead, education is analyzed in terms of supply and demand. This approach denies that compulsory education is a governmental responsibility. The result is that governments are pressurized not to provide free education, but to transfer its cost to families and communities.

The "international community has made pledges to meet the "Millennium Development Goals" and the objectives of "Education for All" (EFA), including to ensure that by 2015 all children have "access to" and complete free and compulsory primary education of good quality. Yet these political promises, which convert what should have been affirmed as every child's birthright into a long-term development goal, can be broken with impunity. At the same time every country in the world, except the USA and Somalia, is obligated by international human rights law to ensure compulsory education free of direct, indirect and opportunity costs. Yet access to international development finance is not conditioned on human rights law, which is ignored.

While international human rights law requires progressive realization of the right to education and anticipates that international cooperation will facilitate this, there is no global commitment in reality to share the burden of ensuring the core of the right to education - free and compulsory education - internationally. The exclusion of international human rights law from international education strategies facilitates abuse of power by individual governments and by intergovernmental agencies including the World Bank.

Governments which are human rights violators, including rich governments of poor countries, make bad educators, whether prioritizing military expenditure over the right to education or transforming education into institutionalized brain-washing, and where their populations have no means to hold them accountable. In such situations, political promises to increase the numbers of children in education have little meaning. Human rights law, which matches individual rights to clear government obligations, provides a framework for ensuring that education is available, accessible, acceptable and adapts to the individual.

Despite the clear requirements of international human rights law, and often in breach of national law, the private cost of primary school may be more than 30% of the annual family budget and five times more than the public primary education budget in some countries. The rule of law is threatened by governments and the World Bank, which fail to fully finance free compulsory education for all children.

The right to education is taking a back seat to fiscal sustainability. International cooperation has not prioritized the realization of the right to education, and those poor governments which are committed to provide free primary education have not been adequately supported by the resources they require from donor governments and development banks. This leaves developing country governments caught between their human rights obligations and economic exigencies. International human rights law demands ensuring free primary education while debt relief strategies demand fiscal sustainability. In the end, debt servicing takes precedence over human rights obligations because sanctions for non-compliance are immediate and expensive.

Despite the rhetoric to the contrary, many governments and intergovernmental agencies are not committed to education as a human right for all children. Military spending far exceeds investment in education around the world - there are at least 150 soldiers for every 100 teachers in the world. Only 2% of educational funds come from international aid. Compulsory education is not supported in global education strategies as this would define education as a public service and a public responsibility. Instead supply and demand rationales continue to dominate educational policy making. Where demand is excessive, the cost of education has been transferred from governmental to family budgets. This has institutionalized economic exclusion from education.

The boundary between public and private education has been obliterated by conditioning access to public school by payments. In developing and transition states 35% of the cost of education is privately funded; in industrialised countries the figure is 8%. This conflicts with the very notion of free and compulsory education, where education is free at the point of use because getting educated is mandatory for all children.

Charging for education which should be free is a global phenomenon. In Sub-Saharan Africa primary education is only really free in three countries; in seven countries over 30% of children never even start school. In post-communist states (such as Eastern Europe or Central Asia) free education is now virtually non-existent; teachers‟ salaries are often below official poverty benchmarks and various formal and informal charges for impoverished public education have made education much too expensive for the poor.

More than twenty different charges may be imposed in primary school. Country data shows that children are pushed out of school as the expenses of going to school start mounting. The cost of free education varies dramatically. The price of school textbooks and uniforms may be less than 3% or more than 30% of the family budget. Data also indicates that school enrolment and attendance dramatically rise when school fees and other charges are eliminated. Experience of countries which have compensated families for lost revenue in sending children to school shows significant success in increasing retention of children in education.

Resolve and resources are required to realize the right to free and compulsory education. There is no automatic association between the wealth of a country and its educational performance. The USA has lower enrolments than Argentina. Latin America shows the greatest growth in free and compulsory education, despite many obstacles. In 2001/2 some 6% (or 1.3 million school-aged children) were out of school in the USA, a figure which does not even include those children who are uncounted, who are in the USA in fact, but not according to the law.

Global education strategies formally divide the world in two parts. A low threshold has been laid down for the poor (primary education as a long-term goal) while the rich continue performing to a much higher standard (secondary education for all and lifelong learning to follow).

The right to education should have globally institutionalized a minimal entitlement for all humans premised on its two characteristics: (1) that it is a human right rather than an entitlement limited to citizens, and (2) that governmental human rights obligations are universal rather than circumscribed by national borders.

This has not happened and the global trend is, in fact, in the opposite direction. Two general findings of the annual educational assessments by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) have described that trend: (1) the proportion of private funding of primary and secondary education tends to be higher in countries with low levels of GDP per capita, and (2) education reproduces existing patterns of privilege.

The link between the elimination of child labor and free and compulsory education formed part of the oldest international human rights law.

All-encompassing and compulsory education was introduced in many of today's post-industrializing countries in the 19th century. Education was gradually made free because experience showed that it would never actually become compulsory unless it was also free. The four key arguments behind universal, state-funded education in 1877 in New Zealand were:

Social control,

The need for an educated electorate,

Investment in economic productivity, and

Equal individual rights.

Definitions of free education include a range of subsidies provided to offset the cost of enrolment, tuition, books, meals, computers, sports, transportation for children who live far from school, as well as extra-curricular activities. Although compulsory education in public schools is free in some countries, generous interpretations of the meaning of free are not shared amongst all Western countries, and charges have been introduced in some countries.

Human rights law shares with global poverty reduction strategies the experience that poverty is a key barrier to universalizing education. In primary education, the key governmental obligation is that of result. Where direct, indirect and opportunity costs preclude access to education, the government has to ensure that they are gradually eliminated. The prerequisite is to identify these costs and, then, develop a strategy for their elimination. The key to a changed global design of education is an affirmation that education is a human right and a public responsibility.

Table 1 (below) classifies regions by the prevalence of charges in public primary school, from Sub-Saharan Africa as the most affected region towards Latin America, with its commitment to free secondary rather than only primary education. Africa has attracted immense international attention but there has been almost no publicity for the plight of Eastern Europe and Central Asia, which is the second most affected region. The transition from centrally-planned, all-encompassing and free to a market-based education points to the correlation between poverty and policy. That region illustrates impoverishment in its extreme but some of its facets are present world-wide. Poverty-based exclusion from education is not confined to developing countries. It spans policy-based charges in primary schools in Israel or New Zealand. These are indicative of the changing practice of states in dividing the financial responsibility for education between the government and the family.

Country's Stance On The Topic

Country Information


Definition: age 15 and over can read and write

Total population: 99.4%

Male: 99.7%

Female: 99.2% (2002 census)

School life expectancy (SLE): total number of years of schooling (primary to tertiary) that a child can expect to receive

Total: 14 years

Male: 13 years

Female: 14 years (2006)

Education expenditures: 3.8% of GDP (2005)

Country comparison to the world: 117

Unemployment rate: 6.4% (2008 est.), 6.2% (2007 est.)

Country comparison to the world: 82

Population below poverty line: 15.8% (November 2007)

Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations


1. The main goal of the 64th session of the UN General Assembly is to continue consolidating multilateral principles in the world policy. Russia has constantly been in favor of a strengthened UN role in the multipolar system of international relations, which is now taking shape. In the context of the global financial and economic crisis, increased possibility of conflicts in a number of regions, food and climate challenges it is necessary to agree upon joint positions in order to solve these acute problems under the UN auspices.

8. The Russian Federation gives priority to collaboration with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Being a UNESCO Member State since 1954, Russia has contributed in every possible way to strengthening the international role of the Organization, playing an active part in realizing its policy goals and numerous multilateral projects. The Russian Federation stands for further development of the Organization and transforming it into an effective instrument for the implementation of the UN Development Goals. In this regard, our country has taken the decision to present the candidature of Alexander Yakovenko, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, for the election to the post of UNESCO General Director at the Organization's 35th General Conference in October this year. We are convinced that the election of the Russian candidate will contribute to more efficient use of the intellectual and cultural potential of the Organization in the interests of all countries of the world.

35. The implementation of the outcomes of the UN Conference on the World Financial and Economic Crisis and Its Impact on Development (New York, June 24-26) represents an absolute priority of the social and economic agenda of the session. We assume that the Conference provides necessary prerequisites for a sound political foundation for an efficient implementation of the anti-crisis actions that have been agreed upon, including within the G20 format, as well as for further endeavors to reform the global financial and economic architecture on the basis of multilaterality.

36. One of the important tasks before the session is, in our view, the preparation for 2010 Millennium Development Goals (MDG) Summit. We are ready to closely and constructively collaborate with all partners in order to early identify the event modalities and initiate a Summit final document on the basis of the UN Secretary-General's comprehensive report.

Regional Summary Of Public Primary Education Charges (Eastern Europe and Central Asia)

The end of the Cold War also spelled the demise of public education as a universal and human right in these regions. Eastern Europe and Central Asia was formerly hailed by the United Nations for having achieved "universal, compulsory and free education at the primary level". However, those days are long gone with changes in government policy impoverishing public education and giving rise to charges and fees for public services. This trend has been largely invisible to international observers, as the countries which fall outside of the EU zone no longer form a region according to UN terminology, and their transition from second world to poor and heavily indebted "Third World" has been largely undocumented. The heritage of free education has survived in legal guarantees in all countries in the region but educational policies have taken a different track. Privatization of public services, including education, is a mainstay of "transition" in the region. Regressive economics buzz words, and their anti-human rights impact, have crept into the region's terminology and practice. Terms such as "market-based education", "user charges", "tuition fees" and "cost recovery" are now common. This new approach to education funding stems from the influence of World Bank policy advice, and conditions for loans and debt relief to the region which consider free public services for all "financially unsustainable". Government's abandonment of financial responsibility for education has shifted the financial burden on families who are now paying widespread and varied charges, both formal and informal. Those families unable to afford the charges are forced to pull their children from school, resulting in massive declines in school enrolments and completion. Education has become a privilege for those who can pay.


This change has distorted the very notion of compulsory education. Imposing a duty upon children with which they cannot comply cannot work in practice, while it also jeopardizes the very notion of human rights and corresponding governmental obligations.

Strengthening Russia's Development Aid Capacity - Workshop on "Strategic Choices for Education Reform" (Jul 06, 2009 09:00 - Jul 10, 2009 15:00)

A 5-day workshop "Strategic Choices for Education Reform", organized and facilitated by the World Bank Institute in Moscow, brought together more than 40 Russian and international participants, representing government agencies, civil society, think-tanks and academia. This event has been a part of a Russia development aid capacity building program in the area of education that the World Bank is delivering according to a request from the Russian Government.

The overall objectives of the workshop are:

To improve understanding of the objectives, and policy options for sector-wide education reform in developing countries, as well as of the conditions required to launch and sustain reform initiatives;

To expand knowledge of Russian education experts of policy options to enhance quality, efficiency, equity of education; strengthen social cohesion;

To develop the skills needed to assess which options are most likely to work within a given country or local setting;

To develop a conceptual approach to designing education strategies and action plans for their implementation.

Participants were also given an opportunity to join professional networks to regularly and systematically share global knowledge and evolving international reform experience.

Possible Solutions

Debt relief

A number of impoverished countries have recently received partial or full cancellation of loans from foreign governments and international financial institutions, such as the IMF and World Bank.

A 2004 World Bank/IMF study found that in countries receiving debt relief, poverty reduction initiatives doubled between 1999 and 2004. Tanzania used savings to eliminate school fees, hire more teachers, and build more schools. Burkina Faso drastically reduced the cost of life-saving drugs and increased access to clean water. Uganda more than doubled school enrollment.

Debt cancellation for the 18 countries qualifying under this new initiative has also brought impressive results on paper. For example, it has been reported that Zambia used savings to drastically increase its investment in health, education, and rural infrastructure.

To assist in the reinvestment of released capital, most International Financial Institutions (IFIs - e.g. World Bank, IMF) provide guidelines indicating probable shocks, programs to reduce a country's vulnerability through export diversification, food buffer stocks, enhanced climate prediction methods, more flexible and reliable aid disbursement mechanisms by donors, and much higher and more rapid contingency financing.

Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) are a group of 40 developing countries with high levels of poverty and debt overhang which are eligible for special assistance from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.

Poverty reduction strategies

Financial aid and resources to LEDC's facing external debt

Industrial cooperation (e.g. government and corporation cooperation to increase job opportunities)

Reevaluate national budget

Redistribute funds in various sectors of economy

Increase public expenditureƒ education

All governments, rich and poor, as well as the UN and World Bank should:

Acknowledge that the key problem in ensuring universal education is not lack of public resources (as evidenced in high and increasing military expenditures) but the global political will to tackle economic exclusion from education

Reaffirm education as a public responsibility and eliminate financial barriers so that all children, no matter how poor they are, can go to school

End contradictory policies and institutional rivalries between global educational organizations

Realistically monitor the cost of education imposed on families and the children themselves

Ensure forms of international cooperation that facilitate, rather than hinder, free and compulsory education for all children

Immediately and concertedly prioritize universal free and compulsory education so that all children stay in education until the minimum age of employment - at least 14.

Work in collaboration with UNESCO and UNICEF