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Transforming Education Means Fighting Poverty Traps

Giving all children the best chance to succeed requires addressing glaring inequalities in educational opportunities and investment. Above all, achieving the United Nations’ goal of ensuring quality universal education for all means eradicating environmentally destructive and economically inefficient poverty traps.

SAN JOSÉ – The COVID-19 pandemic caused the most significant global disruption in education in modern history. With nine out of ten children around the world affected, two decades of progress on educational access and attainment are at risk.

In response to this crisis, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres convened the Transforming Education Summit in New York this month. But the summit is about more than regaining lost ground. The goal is to mobilize a global movement that can bring education to the forefront of the political agenda and push policymakers to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal for education (SDG4): “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.”

It is not hard to see why education needs to be transformed. Even before the pandemic, the state of education worldwide was far from ideal. With 300 million children out of school, an estimated 57% of ten-year-olds in low- and middle-income countries cannot even comprehend a simple text.

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