Sarah Brown on 10 ways to achieve the world’s education and learning goals

Education funding, Education in emergencies, Girls' education, Sarah Brown

Sarah Brown helps students at Mtien school in Lebanon unpack Kano computer kits Picture: Anthony Achkar

Education campaigner Sarah Brown has called 2016 a year of huge opportunities in the ongoing struggle to get every child into school.

She said momentum is gathering after a year in which the United Nations launched the Sustainable Development Goals, more than 10 million people signed the #UpForSchool Petition and A World at School brought together a growing movement of NGOs, faith groups, Global Youth Ambassadors and thousands of individual campaigners.

Sarah, President of our parent charity Theirworld and Executive Chair of the Global Business Coalition for Education, has written about her top 10 priorities and predictions for global education education in a blog titled New Year, New Start which is published today. 

She said: “With momentum on the side of the global education movement, here are my top 10 campaign priorities and predictions for 2016 to see education and learning goals met.”

Here is a summary of her points – you can read the full blog on Sarah’s Medium page.


Young people are increasingly connected digitally and aware of inequality. 

Sarah says: “The digital space opens up innovative ways to share messages, join together and raise the volume. More youth will also take to the streets as well as to the clouds to share creative, articulate, sharp messages that no political leaders should ignore.”


Clear targets must be set for campaigns – such as funding, barriers to education and measures of success.

Sarah says: “Activists are smart and can sniff out a phoney campaign designed for fundraising or database building, and will lean to the real this year.”

Norbert Kirop Kitum, one of our inspiring Global Youth Ambassadors from Kenya, helped to set up this school


Health, nutrition and education are linked – good health and a daily meal are essential for children to learn.

Sarah says: “As soon as we find a better name to describe what has so far been called convergence, the quicker we will find focus and forge stronger partnerships across the development community.”


Businesses have a vital role to play in delivering quality education across varied fields including access to learning, safe school buildings, buses, lunches, early years learning, code clubs and citizenship skills.

Sarah says: “More CEOs can use their powerful voices to stand up for vulnerable people together and workforces can lend their skills and voices to anything from the #UpForSchool campaign to in-kind support providing food, transport, technology and building materials.”


Presidents, prime ministers and other leaders can see big risks paying big dividends on climate change and education.

Sarah says: “There is definitely space for a new hero(ine) or two in the pantheon of historic global change-makers.”


A better life for a girl results in a better life for her family, her community and the world. The case has been made, donors are listening and programmes are being prioritised.

Sarah says: “This year it is time to get results for the most vulnerable and disenfranchised women – the really hard work for the hardest-to-reach starts now.”

A technology centre for students in Ghana


Technology can be used to reach children in remote areas or out of school, as well as unlocking potential. Every child must be given equal access to technology.

Sarah says: “My hunch is that we may see the greatest technology advances in the delivery of education in emergency contexts.”


The launch of the Sustainable Development Goals means the message can go out to donors that early childhood development and early years education are where learning really begins.

Sarah says: “2016 will be a big year for ECD and there are many experts waiting to give their voices to support the case. Investing in a tiny person is the way to get big dividends from our future citizens. Watch this space.”


There must be fair and transparent methods of delivering education, health and other systems to people – donor, national government and community investments must be seen to be reaching their destinations.

Sarah says: “Anti-poverty and human rights campaigners will join with education campaigners to create even stronger messages and calls for action.”


There are many key opportunities for global education in 2016 – including the World Education Forum in Davos and Rwanda, the African Union, the UN Syria pledging conference in London, the Global Education and Skills Forum in Dubai and the World Bank spring meetings.

But Sarah says: “I will stick my neck out on one event where we can join to make a transformative difference for education. The World Humanitarian Summit in May in Turkey gives us a great mid-way point this year. The #UpForSchool campaign is rolling on and millions of people are coming out in support for the millions who need their help.”

Read Sarah’s blog in full here.

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