EFA and ESD – illiteracy and sustainability

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates

In my time, I have sat through many a cheerless meeting trying to fathom the relationship between ESD and EFA, with Venn diagrams and other aids to understanding usually thick on the ground.  It’s a popular myth that EFA / QEFA only applies in poor countries and is to do, for example, with ensuring that all children go to school, and that girls get an education despite, sometimes, the best efforts of their families. 

However, when faced with Ofsted data which says that 100,000 [ ~20% of ] children cannot read as well as they should at the end of an English primary schooling, then more focus on (Q)EFA in England seems appropriate and overdue.  Ofsted also says that only 69% of students reached the expected standard in phonics at the end of year 1 despite much teacher effort and tax-payer cash.

So, how are kids supposed to cope with the demands of, say, ESD if they cannot read and write properly?  Well, they won’t, especially as the further you go through an education system, the greater, and more sophisticated, the demands of literacy become; and then there's life itself which requires functional, cultural and critical literacy if you are to live a life you have reason to value.

So, it seems that a priority for ESD in England should be a home-grown focus on QEFA.  Mr Gove thinks so – well, not the ESD bit, of course – but he's intent on eliminating illiteracy.  About time, you might think – what has he been doing up to now?.


QEFA = a quality education for all – that is, going to school is not enough when what's needed is an education fit for the 21st century and the conditions we find ourselves in (it has nothing to do with quality assurance, needless to say).

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates


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