|Head of Policy, Action Aid International, Gambia|
The specific educational goals include goal number two (2) which calls for the achievement of universal primary education and goal three (3) to promote gender equality and empower women.
The Executive Director who was represented by Policy and Advocacy of Action Aid International (AAI), Gambia Office, Lamin Nyagado to point at the stumbling blogs to the educational goals to mark the 2010 World Teachers’ Day, recounted “across the globe, there are inequalities in educational access and achievement as well as high levels of absolute educational deprivation of both children and adults”.
From the review of achievement on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by world leaders in New York, Mr. Nyangado said governments hit a brick wall when trying to increase spending on education. This “wall”, he said are the conditionalities attached to loans that Ministries of Finance and Central Banks have agreed upon with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
“Most of it comes in the form of targets including low, single digit inflation rates (of 5% or less) and low fiscal deficits (sometimes surpluses)”, which according to him is raising “questions by a number of economist as being justifiably too low”.
Action Aid International is of the view that “the IMF’s neo liberal approach to macroeconomics also blatantly ignores the valuable contribution women make to the economy, to make the education sector work and caring for the wellbeing of communities. Because women’s roles, needs and rights are not fully recognised, the resulting policies discriminate against women”.
According to Mr Nyangado, there is little effort taken to correct the unequal opportunities available to women in the labour market and to obtain the education and skills to secure better jobs, because neo liberals feel that a certain level of inequality is required to fuel economic growth.
Going by his speech, IMF policies on the education sector violate women’s rights, and compromise key educational outcomes.
This is why Action Aid International “has been campaigning for donors to honour commitments made to support education, extend the FTI funding to include Adult Education and Conducting research to support advocacy for the IMF to remove conditionalities”.
Action Aid affirmed that the relationship between education and development is well established such that education is a key index of development.
In justifiably, “schooling improves productivity, health and reduces negative features of life such as child labour and does bring about empowerment”.