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Post-2015 Agendas: NORRAG Paper on the Case of Education and Skills

By Kenneth King and Robert Palmer, NORRAG.

We carried out an analysis of what looked like the gathering storm of proposals around education and skills in the post-2015 development agendas back in August 2012.

In the last seven months, there really has been a hurricane of activity.

In this new working paper, we revisit the architecture of the post-2015 movement, paying particular attention to the role of the South in post-2015 debates; and the role of ‘Skills Development’ or ‘TVET’ in the Education and Skills debate.

But with a battery of different levels of meetings and consultations, from local, to national, regional to international, how is it possible to contribute effectively to the debate? So another dimension of this paper analyses the route map itself, and explores the process whereby any goals or targets for new development agendas might be established, and what are the key meetings that could determine this process.

A particular education challenge in this mapping of the landscape is that there are currently three processes for proposing an education dimension of post-2015 framework: a post-MDG process, a post-EFA process and an SDG-process.

Robert Palmer supports  the Editor of NORRAG News and runs NORRAG NEWSBite. Email: Tweets @SkillsImpact

Kenneth King is the Editor of NORRAG News. He is an Emeritus Professor at the School of Social and Political Studies, University of Edinburgh, Scotland, UK. Email:

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  1. Mike

    Another extremely interesting and valuable contribution. You reflect upon the limitations of the MY World (or ‘MY Word’ as you say at one point) survey, although the pattern and nature of the responses are interesting, as indeed are your observations. Of course ‘A good education’ would be in the lead and I don’t really need to expand upon my ‘of course’. However the ‘definition’ of ‘A good education’ that is provided (if seldom consulted) must be contested:

    “This means that all children should have a high quality primary and secondary education that equips them for employment and an enjoyable life. Governments and the private sector should work together to provide opportunities for lifelong learning and skills development for adults.”

    As you know, I no more believe in an ‘Education and Training’ debate that I do in an ‘Animal Husbandry and Lawn Tennis’ debate and I sense that ‘Skills’ is used as a shorthand for ‘Skills for Employment’. I believe that there should be two separate headings such as:

    * A good education; and
    * Effective work skills development.

    The definition of the first of these would be along the lines of:

    ‘This means that all children should have a high quality primary and secondary education that is enjoyable and fulfilling in itself; and that there should also be a wide range opportunities for stimulating and rewarding lifelong learning for adults’

    and I have made a very rough and incomplete first stab at a definition of the latter:

    ‘This means that all of those seeking or in employment – including self-employment – should have opportunities for acquiring and refining relevant skills, ranging from broad capabilities to the requirements of particular occupations, extending to entrepreneurship… and available on a lifelong basis.’. .

    You can see where this is going. But I note yet again that many respondents and participatants in the ‘Education Debate’ tend not to mention TVET, and this you observe, and that I emphasise is because very many good and intelligent people worldwide recognise that such vital activities belong to an entirely separate ‘Skills Debate’.

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