Statement by Parliamentary State Secretary Kopp of the Ministry of Economic Development at the 2011 ECOSOC High-Level Segment in Geneva
Gentlemen and Ladies,
• We expressly welcome the initiative of the UN Economic and Social Council to
make the topic “Education and Development” the topical focus of this year’s
High-level Segment. We all agree that the educational goals are at the heart of
the international development agenda.
• I am therefore very pleased to be able to make a presentation today about how
German development policy is contributing to the achievement of the
Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the Education for All (EFA)
goals by supporting education in developing countries and emerging
What education means for development
• Support for education is very much a core instrument of German
• That is because we regard education as a prerequisite for development in
all areas – i.e. for economic, political, social and cultural development.
• We are all agreed that education is essential for achieving all the MDGs and
that it is also a catalyst for other development policy goals such as climate
protection and good governance.
• In addition to that, education – regardless of development policy goals – is a
human right and therefore something we should be supporting per se!
• Good education is active poverty reduction. Especially in developing
countries and particularly in crisis regions, fragile states or in the case of
disadvantaged groups, education and training are a way to escape the
downward spiral of poverty and lack of prospects.
• For example, each additional year of education and training increases a
person’s average earnings over his or her lifetime by 10 per cent.
• Only when people receive a sound education do they have the chance to take
control of their own destinies, make decisions and bring about change.
• Thus the sustainable and successful development of a country depends very
much on a functioning, high-quality education system with fair access for all.
• In our view, strong partner countries with a well-educated population are
very important for jointly overcoming global challenges!
Deficits in the education sector in developing countries
• However, we all know that many countries – and by that I do not just mean
developing countries – are still miles away from reaching the EFA goals and
the MDGs and that they have major deficits in the education sector.
• There are about 67 million children across the world who do not attend
school at all, and more than half of them are girls. Almost half of all the
children in the world who do not go to school live in Africa, with a further
quarter living in South and Western Asia.
• In developing countries only about one quarter of the population has
mastered basic skills like reading and writing – even if they finished school.
• This is because, very often, the teachers are not trained well enough, so that
their pupils have still not acquired basic skills even after attending school for
five years. One area of action for our development cooperation is therefore
addressing the poor quality of education.
• There are many places where school infrastructure and supplies of teaching
materials are lacking in state schools and educational establishments. For
example, there are no pencils, no boards to write on, no books and sometimes
not even a roof overhead so that the pupils are protected from the elements.
• And the classes are often too big, so that there are about 30 countries
around the world where a pupil-teacher ratio of 40:1 has still to be achieved.
• In many countries, girls are denied access to education. In some cases there
are only about 60 girls attending school for every 100 boys.
• Sometimes whole sections of the population are excluded from access to
education - ethnic minorities, members of a religious community, child
labourers, people with handicaps or socially weak members of society.
• Democracy, the rule of law and peace are in danger when equal access to
education is not safeguarded. Educational poverty divides societies and
cements unjust structures.
• Another challenge is that, in the poorest countries, only a fraction of those born
in each year graduate from university. For many the costs of further
education and university are too high.
• In many countries, the education budget is underfinanced. This means, for
example, that teachers’ salaries are not paid or are so low that educated
people do not want to be teachers.
• When we talk about education we mainly think of schoolchildren. But
educational poverty does not stop at children: the number of illiterate adults is
also alarmingly high: there are 759 million people in the world who are not
able to read or write. By comparison: Europe has about 739 million inhabitants.
• More than half of all illiterate people live in just 4 Asian countries. In sub-
Saharan Africa one in three adults is illiterate.
• That is why the German government says: Education is the key to
• What do we mean by that? How is German development cooperation helping
to promote education?
How education is viewed within German development cooperation
• For the German government supporting education is extremely important
and there is a consensus among all German ministries that more should be
done to achieve a sustainable improvement in education as part of our
cooperation with developing and emerging countries.
• A good example to show just how important education is felt to be is the
German government’s Africa Strategy, which was recently adopted and
which all German ministries were involved in preparing.
• The German government has made education one of the key areas of
German development policy.
• Thus we are working to bring about free access to high-quality education for all
people throughout all phases of their lives.
• As we support education in developing and emerging countries we are striving,
with our partners, to achieve the sustainable strengthening of education
systems as a whole.
• With lifelong learning as our guiding principle, we are therefore advocating
a holistic approach to education, one that takes all forms and areas of
education into account – from early childhood education to primary education,
to secondary education, to technical vocational education and training (TVET),
higher education and adult education.
• Using this approach we are seeking to support the efforts of our partner
countries to be able to offer all people high-quality education accessible at
all times in accordance with their situation in life, skills and educational needs.
• No one should be excluded, at any phase of their lives!
New BMZ Education Strategy
• For the first time Germany has therefore drawn up an education strategy for
German development policy that addresses all areas of education – from
early childhood education to adult education.
• Together with our partners within Germany and abroad we have identified ten
objectives to be pursued so as to provide sustainable support for education in
developing and emerging countries and contribute to the achievement of the
• The Education Strategy is intended as a guideline for all official German
development cooperation, making cooperation in the education sector more
efficient, effective and coordinated.
• I also consider it important to emphasise that the format for this Strategy is
new! It is a political reference document – and not a technical
• Moreover, as the Education Strategy shows, a new era of cooperation has
begun in German development policy: the elaboration of the Education
Strategy was and is a joint process, one in which all our partners are involved
– from civil society to the private sector.
• Federal Minister Niebel presented the draft Strategy at an international
conference in Berlin on 1 March 2011, where it was discussed with
representatives from the fields of science, civil society, business and politics.
• Since the draft was presented we have been busy discussing and further
elaborating particularly important and complex aspects of the Strategy within
the framework of expert conferences with national and international partners.
• Today is also a very good opportunity for doing this! I look forward to hearing
your comments. For example, we have already received valuable
suggestions from the FTI Secretariat. I would like to take this opportunity to say
thank you for the input!
• We will continue gathering, discussing and considering all written and spoken
comments until 18 September and will strive to include them in the draft
Education Strategy as far as possible, so that we can present a final version
towards the end of this year.
• I would like to briefly outline for you the ten objectives of the Education
• One: We will be increasing funding for education worldwide. For example, in
2010, we increased our bilateral commitments for education by a good 10 per
cent against 2009 and we will continue to increase them.
And because we see Africa as a continent of opportunities, we want to step up
our efforts in the field of education in Africa in particular. In 2009, some 50 per
cent of German ODA for basic education was already going to Africa. Our
target is to double bilateral funding for education in Africa by 2013.
And we hope to make education one of the agreed priority areas of
cooperation with an increasing number of partner countries. In addition,
we will of course continue to support education even when it is not a priority
• Two: We want to support the whole spectrum of education and strengthen
education systems in their entirety. We all know that it is essential when you
start providing support for primary education that you have some idea what will
become of the eventual school leavers.
To complement our bilateral education programmes for developing countries
we also want to carry on being actively involved in the education pledges of
the multilateral organisations and the EU, discussing our holistic approach
in those forums.
• Three: We want to improve the quality of basic education and access to it,
because basic education is the foundation of the entire education system and
of each individual learning experience.
For us, key areas here, especially for quality improvement, are gender
equality, promoting education from early childhood onwards, integrating
particularly disadvantaged groups and teacher training.
And we want to further strengthen the Education for All – Fast Track
Initiative, which is a very important multilateral approach in the area of primary
education. In order to establish more effective procedures and structures and
also increase the political will of all the partners involved in this initiative, we
are going to be working to move the reform of EFA-FTI forward.
Within the framework of our bilateral cooperation in the education sector we
see a special responsibility in the case of fragile states and states facing
conflict situations. We are therefore using bilateral resources in close
cooperation with the Fast Track Initiative for a regional programme in Africa
that supports partner countries when they apply for FTI funds.
• Four: For fifty years Germany has been a reliable, innovative and valued
partner in the field of technical vocational education and training (TVET) and
also the world’s biggest donor in this field, with ODA disbursements of
75 million euros in 2009. And we plan to expand TVET still further.
Building on the basic principles of the dual vocational training system –
particularly demand-oriented, decentralised, practice-based, modular training –
we will therefore be initiating new vocational training partnerships between the
private and the public sector in our partner countries.
We will be doing more in the way of working with the private sector to train
skilled workers on the ground – especially for sectors of the future such as
renewable energy or natural resources.
Moreover we would like to test new development policy instruments and
innovative forms of cooperation whilst at the same time involving all important
players from the field of TVET. That is why we are launching an ideas
competition for “Innovative partnerships between the BMZ and the private
sector and civil society in the field of vocational training”.
• Five: Because we do not want the potential that exists in our partner countries
to be squandered any longer, we will be supporting talented individuals in our
partner countries by expanding higher education.
We want to provide more support for returnees in order to avoid brain drain
and help boost the academic strata of society in our partner countries.
• Six: We want to test new development instruments and innovative forms
• Seven: We want greater inclusion of all important stakeholders. We see
education as a task for society as a whole. Governments, civil society and the
private sector need to talk to one another and cooperate with one another on
creating a palette of educational options that is both needs-oriented and
• Eight: We will work more closely with the private sector, boosting private
companies by training skilled specialists – calling on those companies to do
their bit by providing training places.
• Nine: We want to make our efforts in the field of education more effective.
• Ten: We want to bring development policy to the people and raise public
awareness with regard to supporting education in developing countries. And
we want to encourage more civil society involvement in this context.
• Gentlemen and Ladies, I am really very pleased to have the chance to make
this presentation today on German support for education within the framework
of development policy at such an important event and in front of so many
international partners and partner countries.
• I hope that I have been able to show that education is truly a matter of great
concern to the German government.
• Germany is seeking with its new Education Strategy to do more to meet its
development policy responsibilities and to make a very real contribution
towards the achievement of the MDGs and the Education for All (EFA) goals.
• I thank you for your attention and look forward to continuing our work together!