2.1.1 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)

In 2000, world leaders adopted the United Nations Millennium Declaration, an effort to foster a global partnership to reduce extreme poverty. The initiative established a series of time-bound targets, with a deadline of 2015. These targets, known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), establish specific development objectives including eradicating poverty and improving access to health and education.14

Of the eight MDGs, two targets involve the accessibility and improvement of education. Goal 2 aims to achieve universal primary education so that by 2015, children everywhere (both boys and girls) will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling.15 Goal 3 of the MDGs focuses on promoting gender equality and empowering women. It aims to eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education, preferably by 2005, and at all levels of education no later than 2015.16

Although these MDGs do not deal directly with the establishment of school connectivity, their focus on providing education has set the stage for countries to focus their efforts on developing policies for improved educational accessibility The establishment of school connectivity can help governments to achieve the MDG education goals:

“The MDGs in education are defined in terms of participation and completion of primary education by all children and the elimination of gender discrimination in education. ICTs play an important role in reaching these goals by transcending time and space, allowing learning to take place 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This contributes immensely to the inclusion of traditionally excluded populations such as girls and women, ethnic minorities, and persons with disabilities - groups previously marginalized due to cultural, social and geographical circumstances.” 17

14 The Millennium Development Goals, available at: http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/bkgd.shtml
16 The Millennium Development Goals Report 2008, pg. 12.
16 The Millennium Development Goals Report 2008, pg. 16.
17 http://unpan1.un.org/intradoc/groups/public/documents/gaid/unpan034975.pdf. The ITU provides specific examples of how ICTs impact the MDGs in: http://www.itu.int/ITU-D/ict/publications/wtdr_03/material/Chap4_WTDR2003_E.pdf.

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