Islamabad - United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) urged the world countries to meet their commitment of spending 4 per cent of their GDP on education sector.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) globally launched the education monitoring summary 2017-18 under the theme of ‘Accountability in Education’ here. According to the report, only 55 per cent countries in the world provide the right to education justifiable allowing citizens’ legal accesses to challenge the failures of the education system.

It said that accountability in education begins with governments, which bears the primary duty to ensure the right to education because every country in the world has ratified at least one international treaty in this regard.

It recommended that governments should develop credible education sector plans and transparent budgets with clear lines of responsibilities and truly independent auditing mechanism. It also recommended governments to create space for meaningful and representative engagement to build trust and shared understanding of respective responsibility and independent auditing mechanisms.

The UNESCO report called the method of using student scores to sanction schools or evaluate teachers as a path of promoting unhealthy competition based environment and recommended to design supportive and formative, and avoid punitive mechanisms, especially the types based on narrow performance measures.

Governments should fulfill their commitment of spending at least 4 per cent of GDP on education or allocating 15percent of government expenditure and donor countries should keep their pledge to provide 0.7 per cent of national income to aid.

And of that 0.7 per cent, 10 per cent should be allocated to basic and secondary education. The report also said that governments should treat teachers as ‘professionals’ and help build their professionalism by investing in the necessary initial and in-service education programs and providing them with autonomy.

In the monitoring report on Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 on education, the UNESCO report found that the global indicator regarding proficiency in reading and mathematics at an early grade, of primary and lower secondary no global standard has been set.

Nearly half countries administer national learning assessment in reading and mathematics at the end of primary and of lower secondary education. And only between 25 per cent and 38 per cent of countries that participated in regional or international learning assessments have contributed data towards the global indicator.

The report revealed that countries of the E9 group have committed to achieving SDG4 and account for over half the world’s population, hold the key to globally reporting on learning outcomes.

However, Pakistan amongst five other countries does not report on this indicator which the report has called critical.

The report said regarding early childhood education, only one-third countries worldwide legally stipulate at least one year of free provision, 21 per cent one year of compulsory provision and 175 one year both free and compulsory.

The report said that education is key to achieving outcomes in several SDGs, including health, water and sanitation, and food security.

As of 2012, non-communicable diseases, including cancer, diabetes, chronic respiratory ailments and cardiovascular disease, accounted for 68 per cent of all deaths worldwide, almost three-quarters of them in low and middle income countries.

Tobacco use caused 6.4 million deaths in 2015. People with more education are less likely to use tobacco in both poor and rich countries. In lower middle income countries, men lacking formal education were between 1.75 and 605 times as likely to smoke as those with at least a secondary education.

Federal Minister for Education and Professional Training Muhammad Baligh-ur-Rehman on launching of the report said that Pakistan worked actively on every SDG set by United Nations (UN) and gradually overcoming the challenges.

He said Pakistan has increased the fiscal space for education sector and currently spending 2.6 per cent of its GDP on education.

He also said that the accountability in the education sector could be achieved through strengthening democracy in the developing countries.

He said from primary to higher education, federal and provincial governments have increased budgetary allocations for the education sector.