Viewing the challenge of education through different lenses


Earlier this month, our Board Chair Julia Gillard spoke about global education priorities in a roundtable session in New York City hosted by the New York chapter of The Council on Foreign Relations. This post is based on a portion of her remarks there.

The dimensions of the challenge to educate all children across the globe are enormous. The stark reality is that, in spite of great progress over the last couple of decades, there are still 58 million children who do not go to primary school, 28.5 million of those living in environments of conflict or humanitarian crisis. Around 250 million children either don’t make it to grade 4 or can’t perform basic literacy and numeracy tasks by the time they reach grade 4.

Why should the world care about this problem?  For good-hearted people, one answer is that it tears at our hearts that millions of children around the world, especially girls, don’t get the benefit of an education.

That’s an understandable and indispensable response, but there are two other lenses through which we can – and should – view the challenge of global education.

Education’s connection to global security

The first is a global security lens.  Many great thinkers have set their eyes on the tragedy of violent Islamic extremism, asking what we can do to counter it and how radicalization feeds it.

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