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World Education Forum closes in S. Korea with Incheon declaration

INCHEON, South Korea, May 21 (Xinhua) -- The World Education Forum (WEF) 2015 closed Thursday its three-day run in South Korea' s west port city of Incheon, with the Incheon Declaration that stipulated a new goal and target on education in the next 15 years.

Around 1,500 participants from more than 160 countries agreed to a new comprehensive goal of ensuring quality education that is inclusive and equitable for all and life-long learning opportunity by 2030.

Seven targets, which would be finalized in September after further discussions, involved free access to primary and secondary education, access to pre-primary education and early childhood care, affordable vocational and tertiary education, skills among youth and adults for decent jobs, gender equality in education and vocational training for the vulnerable, literacy and numeracy, and education for sustainable development (ESD).

The ESD means that poverty reduction and sustainable growth can be achieved by allowing every human being to acquire knowledge and skills through high-quality education.

According to the World Bank analysis, education will help end extreme poverty as it increases earnings for hired workers, leads educated women to benefit themselves and their families and boost overall economic growth.

The Incheon Declaration recommended that UN member states spend 4-6 percent of their GDP, or 15-20 percent of their public expenditure on education and that advanced economies spend 0.7 percent of their GNI on official development assistance (ODA) for under-developed nations.

Education for All (EFA) movement was launched in 1990 when the World Conference on EFA was held in Jomtien, Thailand to ensure everybody's rights to education. The Jomtien Declaration adopted six education goals required by the international society to achieve.

Ten years later, the second WEF forum was held in Dakar, Senegal to revise the six EFA goals and adopt the Dakar framework for action, which provided targets the international society should achieve. The targets were reflected in eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) set by the United Nations in 2000.

The post-2015 education agenda, reflected in the Incheon Declaration, will be linked to the post-2015 development agenda, scheduled to be adopted by the United Nations at a summit in September and replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) coming to an end this year.

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