Input Paper – Lisbon Conference: “Decent Work and Education: Investing in Equal Opportunities for All”

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

Nelson Mandela

I.   Education as A Basic Human Right for All:

An Imperative for Peace, Development and Aiming for Prosperity on the one hand; for Social Cohesion, Living with Global Change, and Learning all through Life on the other hand.

Educational needs, how education is actually financed and national systems per se vary dramatically across the globe. From a disastrous lack of elementary education among the poorest, particularly for young girls to reforming long-established educational systems in the “developed” world so as to keep working people including older workers abreast of changing requirements in the workplace as well as empowering all sorts of vulnerable people to participate in society at large or to maintaining the vibrant R&D necessary for the good performance of “post-industrial” economies.


II.   The Right Financing – and the Right Structures, for Lasting Systemic Change.

In general terms, our goals must include the following:

We must not forget that the public sector, civil society and trade unions should be engaged in the preparation of the working people by helping them to develop and/or validate the necessary skills, competences, and knowledge required to get decent jobs – rather than “automatically” relying on the raw demands of the markets to orient the right choices for education.

We need better targeting of the available resources, we need more programmes that help young people expand their horizon and skills, competences, and knowledge – and a talent development programme through which decision-makers would ensure that talented children living in poverty and social exclusion have the opportunity to study whatever they choose and so will have the chance to live up to their full potential

In concrete terms:

We demand that austerity measures do not lead to cuts in Education!

We demand that everyone contribute and pay their “just part” in financing education for all!

We demand that an artificial division into “developed” and “developing” financing not be perpetuated, but rather a general realisation and undertaking of obligations tailored to everyone’s specific capacities. For that reason we recommend (in line with UNESCO) that Ensuring equitable quality education and lifelong learning for all by 2030 should become a goal of the post-2015 Agenda!

We demand transparency and good governance in all national budgets and their shares reserved for education!

We demand equal access to lessons learned by all participants of the process of progress on financing education across the world!

We demand that national systems with proven plentiful resources open and share them more and better with systems having less resources at their disposal!