Speeches & Transcripts

Statement for the Closing Ceremony of the World Education Forum 2015

May 21, 2015

Keith Hansen, Global Practices Vice President, World Bank Group Incheon, Korea, Republic of

As Prepared for Delivery

Mr. Deputy Prime Minister, Madame Director General of UNESCO, Honorable Ministers, our co-convening partners, Ladies and Gentlemen:

On behalf of President Jim Yong Kim and our entire team at the World Bank Group, I want to thank the Government of the Republic of Korea for hosting this extraordinary Forum.

This is a watershed moment for the global education movement.  With the Incheon Declaration, we are taking a landmark step forward on behalf of the world’s children – and for future generations. 

We are rightly shifting our ambitions for the next 15 years -from not only achieving Education for All, but Learning for All

We are saying today that by 2030, all children, everywhere, must be able to go to school and reap the benefits of life-long learning

Yet, as we have heard many times this week, an estimated 250 million children who cannot read or write, many of whom have attended school for several years.

Think about that for a moment.  If those 250 million children could form a nation, it would be the fourth most populous country in the world, about the same as the population of Indonesia.

We can, and must, do better.

So we are very pleased that the Incheon Declaration has a clear commitment to ensuring quality education and improving learning outcomes.

Every child has the right to a quality education.  To realize this right, we must be able to ensure that every child has a safe learning environment ; that we have well-trained, well-supported and motivated teachers; and that children actually acquire the cognitive and non-cognitive skills they need to escape extreme poverty, share in the benefits of economic growth, fulfill their potential, and pass these gains on to future generations.

To realize this right, as the Declaration says, we must mobilize ALL available resources.  And we must also ensure accountability for results.

As President Kim announced earlier this week, the World Bank Group is committed to do its part, as the world’s largest provider of official development assistance for education. 

We heard this week from the ministers from Haiti, Pakistan, Senegal, and Tanzania about how they are using results-based approaches to expand access AND improve learning outcomes. We will be stepping up our support for results-based financing, to enable countries to deliver the strongest possible public education services

Alongside financing, we’re committed to sharing global knowledge, to promoting monitoring and evaluation of programs, and to documenting what works, what doesn’t, and why, so that resources are used more and more effectively.

It was heartbreaking to hear another minister say that he had realized the only reason parents’ satisfaction in his country was so high was that their expectations were so low.

In closing, as the honorable minister from Tanzania said yesterday, we have to change mindsets about what is possible.    

We are off to a good start here in Incheon. But we must leave this hall not walking, but running. We owe that to the children of today and tomorrow. 

We have no time to waste.

Thank you.