The EFA Global Monitoring Report 2006 aims to shine a stronger policy spotlight on the more neglected goal of literacy - a foundation not only for achieving EFA but, more broadly, for reaching the overarching goal of reducing human poverty.

The publication examines the many dimensions of youth and adult literacy set in the context of development and shows how it connects with other societal challenges such as gender equality, and poverty reduction. Although literacy is at the core of the Education for All goals, three-quarters of the 127 countries for which projections were calculated will miss the target of halving adult illiteracy rates by 2015; moreover, the literacy gender gap is closing too slowly: 63 per cent of illiterate adults were women in 1985-1994, compared to 64 per cent in 2000-2006. The Global Literacy Challenge discusses the expanded vision of literacy in today’s knowledge societies. Essential elements for effective action in literacy are addressed: policy-making, design and delivery of quality literacy programmes, research to provide evidence, assessment of literacy levels, monitoring and evaluation, adequate funding, and partnerships. It concludes with a call for renewed momentum through greater commitment, improved programme delivery and increased resources.

The present report, submitted pursuant to Human Rights Council resolutions 8/4 and 26/17, is devoted to lifelong learning and the right to education. The Special Rapporteur sheds light on the vision and concept of lifelong learning and highlights the emergence of the 'right to learning', intertwined with the right to education and training as a social right. He also examines state responsibility, along with that of other social partners, for its realisation and underlines the key importance placed on lifelong learning in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Special Rapporteur also looks at the special role that devolves upon technical and vocational education and training for skills development and analyses the issues in financing lifelong learning. Finally, the Special Rapporteur offers a set of recommendations with a view to promoting learning as a right and its pursuit from a lifelong learning perspective, in keeping with state obligations as set out in international human rights instruments.

The Special Rapporteur believes that non-formal education programmes provide flexible, learner-centred means to improve education outcomes. This is particularly relevant for girls and groups in vulnerable situations, including children with disabilities, minorities and rural and impoverished children, who are disproportionately represented among out-of-school populations. When designed to be available, accessible, acceptable and adaptable, such programmes enable states to fulfil the right to education of learners who are excluded from the formal system. Furthermore, such programmes can promote holistic learning objectives that support cultural and linguistic rights.

In a unique collaboration with UNICEF, Minority Rights Group International reports on what minority and indigenous children around the world face in their struggle to learn. This report profiles the programmes that are being developed to help them – from better bilingual education to meeting the needs of nomadic populations – giving examples of what works and why. It describes efforts to overcome exclusion so that education is available, accessible, acceptable and adaptable for minorities and indigenous peoples, and shows how far there is still to go.

The second edition of the Global Education Monitoring Report (GEM Report) presents the latest evidence on global progress towards the education targets of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

With hundreds of millions of people still not going to school, and many not achieving minimum skills at school, it is clear education systems are off track to achieve global goals. The marginalised currently bear the most consequences but also stand to benefit the most if policy-makers pay sufficient attention to their needs. Faced with these challenges, along with tight budgets and increased emphasis on results-oriented value for money, countries are searching for solutions. Increased accountability often tops the list.

The 2017/8 GEM Report shows the entire array of approaches to accountability in education. It ranges from countries unused to the concept, where violations of the right to education go unchallenged, to countries where accountability has become an end in itself instead of a means to inclusive, equitable and high-quality education and lifelong learning for all.

The report emphasises that education is a shared responsibility. While governments have primary responsibility, all actors – schools, teachers, parents, students, international organizations, private sector providers, civil society and the media – have a role in improving education systems. The report emphasises the importance of transparency and availability of information but urges caution in how data are used. It makes the case for avoiding accountability systems with a disproportionate focus on narrowly defined results and punitive sanctions. In an era of multiple accountability tools, the report provides clear evidence on those that are working and those that are not.