Our Perspectives

A million voices for education | Corinne Woods


 Girl scouts participating in the MY World survey in Kigali, Rwanda. Photo: Stanislav Saling / UNDP

If you had to make a guess at the average person’s number one priority for a better life, what would you choose? Good health, a longer life, prosperity?

Or all of the above? Because the answer encompasses them all. The answer is education.

One of the biggest public opinion polls ever conducted and with the power to shape global policy, the UN-led MY World, is saying just that. A million people out of nearly 1.5 million surveyed say that education is one of their top six priorities for a better world.

Because no matter where they live in the world, people know that it is education that makes the real difference to their lives. Whether they are young men in Africa, educated women in Europe or teenagers in Asia, like Pakistan’s Malala, they are dreaming of a chance for everyone to learn, to develop, to realize their potential and overcome their hurdles.

Education is the key to fighting discrimination, to improving health and to securing better jobs – and people know it. They don’t need to read the statistics – and there are plenty out there – proving that a better-educated population is healthier, more prosperous, more harmonious.

Across the world, in every age group, when asked by MY World to choose six out of 16 issues that could make a difference to their lives, men and women alike put education as one of the top six of their list. They come from 193 countries across the globe and encompass people with different backgrounds and belief systems.

People expect governments to meet their needs by providing high-quality education available to all that equips children and young people for life’s challenges and opportunities.

To succeed, education should be put at the centre of the Post-2015 Agenda, with carefully defined goals, a detailed plan of action, a commitment to full financing and an inbuilt method of measurement.

If there is one thing we have learnt from the Millennium Development Goals, it is that by having a unified, global vision, we can work together, share our experiences and achieve spectacular results.

And if education is what people want, education is what they should get. We will continue to collect the voices of people and present them to the member states that will ultimately adopt the Post-2015 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals in September 2015.

Talk to us: How have you seen education improving lives in your community?

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