Education – A Human Right

Class at a school in As Salt, Jordan. Three pupils standing in front of a whiteboar, one of them writing arabic letters with chalk.

Education is a human right and the foundation on which the cultural identity of the individual and society develops. Education alone can neither feed people nor make them rich, and it cannot create social justice, but it is essential for sustainable development and peaceful coexistence. Education enables people to improve their political, social, cultural, societal and economic situation.

Yet there are still some 774 million young people and adults in the world who can neither read nor write, and about two thirds of these are women. Some 57 million children of primary school age have no opportunity to attend school. These figures published by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) are based on official surveys carried out by individual countries - and it is feared that the real figures are very much higher. Education statistics are often not compiled in crisis regions.

Education: A key area of development policy

The international community is committed to improving education worldwide, indeed this commitment constitutes one of the Millennium Development Goals: to ensure that, by 2015, children everywhere, boys and girls alike, will be able to complete a full primary school education.

The German government has based its promotion of education within the context of development cooperation on internationally agreed goals and on the vision of lifelong learning, that is to say, every person should be able to acquire knowledge and skills from early childhood to old age. Since 2009, education has been a key area of German development policy. The education strategy published in February 2012, "Ten Objectives for More Education", sets out Germany's priorities for and approaches to promoting education. All stages of life are covered – from preschool education through primary and secondary education, to vocational training, higher education and adult education.

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