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Education for All in the digital age
Tan Sri Dato" Gajaraj Dhanarajan
We still live in a world of great inequality. Much of humanity continues to be denied access to an equal share of the planet"s wealth, to justice, and to a decent living. The disparity between those who have and those who do not in terms of food, healthcare, education, and social security continues to be appalling. The inequalities are not just between rich and poor nations but also within nations and communities.
The elimination of these inequalities is a global aspiration expressed through the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The first of the eight goals is the eradication of poverty and three others have to do with improving health (i.e. reducing child mortality; improving maternal health; and combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases). The seventh goal is ensuring environmental sustainability, and the eighth is developing a global partnership for development. The second and third goals are related to education: achieving universal primary education and promoting gender equality and empowering women specifically through the elimination of gender disparity at all levels of education.
The emphasis on education for development is not surprising. Education has been, and continues to be, the most powerful agent of change. Thus, there is global recognition of education as a basic human right and social responsibility. This underpins the World Declaration on Education for All that "every person — child, youth, and adult — should be able to benefit from educational opportunities designed to meet their basic learning needs" (UNESCO 1990a).