UNESCO emphasizes the responsibility of all governments to provide accessible, universal quality education to its citizens

The United Nations Environment, Scientific and Cultural Organization released its Global Education Monitoring (GEM) report for 2017-18, in which it highlights the need for governments to prioritise providing universal quality education.

Irina Bokova, Director-General of the organization said: “education is a shared responsibility between us all – governments, schools, teachers, parents and private actors.”

“Accountability for these responsibilities defines the way teachers teach, students learn and governments act. It must be designed with care and with the principles of equity, inclusion, and quality in mind.”

The director of the GEM Report, Manos Antoninis, said governments must be held accountable for education.

“Accountability must start with governments. If a government is too quick to apportion blame to others, it is deflecting attention away from its own responsibility for creating a strong, supportive education system.”

Transparency is another key issue explored in the GEM Report, after it was revealed only one in six governments publishes education monitoring reports.

Countries with weak accreditation systems allow thousands of students to graduate with degrees that cannot be used outside the country, and are not recognized by most international educational institutions.

Gaps and inequalities in education must be addressed, according to GEM Report

The report exposed shocking statistics about education worldwide. Only 20 percent of countries guarantee 12 years of free and obligatory education, and over 200 million children are out of school.

Governments hold a key role in designing the systems that enable education to take place. The report suggests that governments avoid using punitive mechanisms when dealing with issues such as teacher and student absenteeism.

The Report concludes that where governmental and formal mechanisms are unsuccessful, citizens can work to hold their governments accountable for education, calling for all citizens and governments alike to work to better education in their countries.