Helle Thorning-Schmidt

Quality Education for the World We Want- Dec. 10, 2014

Helle Thorning-Schmidt
December 10, 2014— New York City, New York
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Thank you so much.

Universal education for all, that is basically our common message here today, and that's a powerful one. And as many have you have been pointed out, we have actually achieved progress, and that's a good story to tell in the next part of our job.

We know now that more kids than ever attend primary school, but still you know but also 58 million children are not attending primary school. So the message is clear from us today, but the work ahead of us is also very clear. We need to continue our efforts to bring more kids into primary school, and as we continue to do that, we must not look beyond not only quantity but also look into quality education. Because we also know that 250 million cannot read, write, or count whether they have gone to school or not. And that of course points in the direction of quality.

So the question for us is, what is quality education? And the question is not only relevant of course in a post in in a post 2015 development agenda, but this is something that we, as individual Member States, discuss every day at home. Including in my own country, where we discuss quality all the time.

It is of course difficult to give a definition on what quality education is, but I do believe there are some universal elements in quality education. First of all, as many have pointed out already, we need quality teachers. Professional and stimulating teachers are crucial to ensure that our children acquire the necessary skills and knowledge and do it fast, as we heard early on as well.

Second, teachers need to teach quality content. Far too often you have children going to school, but actually not having a quality content, and of course they can’t learn anything. So we need clear goals, appropriate and relevant curricula, and also a good learning materials.

Third, to ensure effective teaching, we need a quality environment for our kids. Safe and secure school facilities, and of course also safe access to our schools. And in addition to this, we need to work hard to make children stay in school and continue, as missus Obama pointed out, to secondary level.

In particularly we need this to happen for girls. This requires a number up aspects including something as simple as food and health. It is clear to everyone that a hungry child cannot learn effectively, so that should be at the forefront of our attention. We also know that lack of sanitation and hygiene is one of the main constraints to increased enrollment and retention in schools, especially among adolescent girls. So, and on top of that, we have heard of all the barriers that we need to address. Early pregnancies, early child marriages, child labor. We cannot talk about schools and education without addressing these issues.

Finally, we must not forget than most vulnerable children. Children living in insecure areas, children living in fragile situations. Their right to education is extremely important, not only for them but for our global security.

The next big question we have to ask ourselves is, how do we ensure that these requirements are met and a global scale. One key is, of course, to be found in partnerships. Partnerships between the international community, the individual countries, and civil society. And the global partnership for education is an excellent example of just that.

As a champion for education, and they’re very pleased to be a champion for education, I'm also very pleased to announce an increase in the Danish support to the GP fun to a total of approximately 70 million US dollars annually from 2015. (applause)

With this Denmark remains an enthusiastic GP donor. As we look to the new development goals, post-2015, it is only natural also based on the discussion we had today, that we should have an ambitious new goal on education. Two hundred years ago, we introduced compulsory elementary education in my own country, Denmark. We're celebrating that this next year, and this year, and we have continued all through those years to reform and improve the quality of our educational system ever since. That work will never end. It is an ongoing process, and every nation has to ask themselves whether they have the best quality education.

Because the education that we give our children, must always be adapted to a changing world, and it must always remain our highest priority. Is very simple, we owe this to the millions of children that are still left behind. We can give them quality education that will change their lives and all the lives. And we can also, at the same time, make the more world a more sustainable and a peaceful place. Thank you very much.

Speech from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ASrjPSZq7ME.