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The Group of Friends for Education and Lifelong Learning on Friday reiterated the need for every country to allocate at least 4 percent of its GDP to “quality, equitable and inclusive education.”

Japan’s Permanent Representative to the UN Kimihiro Ishikane made the appeal on behalf of the group at the opening session of a high-level interactive dialogue on education, which was convened by the UN General Assembly president to mark the second International Day of Education.


Ishikane reminded the meeting that the world is falling short on Sustainable Development Goal 4 of the UN 2030 Agenda: Quality Education.

He said current trends show that 225 million children between six and 17 years of age will be out of school in 2030, and there is an estimated gap of at least 39 billion U.S. dollars per year between 2015 and 2030 for supporting quality education.

Therefore, he emphasized the need for the UN member states to “allocate at least 4 percent of their GDP, or 15 percent of their expenditure on supporting quality, equitable and inclusive education.”

With regard to the world’s score on education, Ishikane said only half of the youth complete secondary school, six out of 10 children and adolescents worldwide do not achieve minimum proficiency in reading and mathematics, and over 750 million adults still cannot read and write.

“Having access to quality and inclusive education gives people the knowledge and skills they need to access decent jobs and live more prosperous lives,” he stressed.

Also, educating children and young people also yields better health outcomes as it is associated with lower level of child mortality, better nutrition and health, he said. “Children of mothers with secondary education or higher are twice as likely to survive beyond age five of those whose mothers have no education.”

Moreover, Ishikane noted education is a significant contributor to sustaining peace as it brings hope, stability, and opportunity when crisis and conflict disrupt young lives.

He added education also equip learners with a broad set of knowledge, skills, attitudes, enabling them to adapt and thrive in the evolving society.

The Group of Friends for Education and Lifelong Learning was established on the first International Day of Education on Jan. 24, 2019 at the UN headquarters by Argentina, Czech, Japan, Kenya and Norway as a new advocacy initiative to rally political commitments for education. The group consists of over 20 countries.

In December 2018, the UN General Assembly proclaimed Jan. 24 as the International Day of Education, in celebration of the role of education for peace and development. Enditem


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