It is undeniable that International Organisations have a vital role to play in ensuring educational progress. There is, nonetheless, an urgent need for serious conversations about how we address the inflexibility and inefficiency of international education agendas to serve national priorities and support individual fulfillment.
Governments aiming to build equitable, inclusive and effective education systems face serious challenges – calling for considerable investment of human and financial resources as well as political commitment over the medium and long term. This can only be achieved through international platforms of cooperation and solidarity, which must be adapted to 21st century needs, maximise the resources and benefits accrued to developing nations, and are not predicated on placing those nations further in debt or beholden to the interests of external donors. Any system must be formed by and of the nations concerned, whilst also reserving an active role for civil society and minority representation. This will ensure a new approach to education that is effective – because its agenda and priorities are set by its direct stakeholders–, efficient – because it is budgetarily responsible to developing nations–, and independent – because its decision-making is not steered by a small group of international donors.
A truly inclusive, equitable, and sustainable development model emerging from education must overcome the status quo argument between standardisation and privatisation. This requires collectively constructing a third, international, multilateral and solidarity-based alternative of cooperation. By ensuring that our international organisations are based upon efficiency, intersectoriality, sustainability, solidarity, and equality, we can set out towards a future for which we can truly aspire.