The concept of education connotations that go beyond those traditionally ascribed to the term, that is, almost exclusively the process of formal education. Education for increasing the capacity of the poor to gain access to and understand technology must create the instruments that are indispensable for progress. To this end the following objectives are suggested: (a) education for increasing production and productivity of small-scale economic activities; (b) education enabling the poor to participate effectively and constructively in community life; (c) education enabling the poor to put into practice policies and programmes of preventive medicine, indispensable for improving the levels of health and nutrition; and (d) education for the poor that will give impetus to a process of sustainable development, that is, one that will preserve and protect the environment. Accordingly, education expenditures and curricula should be carefully reviewed and evaluated in terms of these objectives. Nations with significant shortfalls in meeting basic needs would benefit from undertaking a review of the composition of their education expenditures in terms of primary, secondary and higher education, and the geographic configuration of these expenditures. Thus they could determine whether the composition and pattern of investment in education is consonant with optimal social returns and basic needs objectives. In reviewing their school curricula, careful attention should be devoted to seeing that students are taught science in a manner that is meaningful and that they are exposed to techniques of production relevant to future income-generating activities. Countries should be cognizant of new effective technologies for assisting the process of education that involve computer networking and other micro-electronics-based tools for learning.
This strategy features in the framework of Agenda 21 as formulated at UNCED (Rio de Janeiro, 1992), now coordinated by the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development and implemented through national and local authorities. Agenda 21 recommends that national capacities to assess, develop, manage and apply new technology should be developed. This will require strengthening existing institutions, training of personnel at all levels, and education of the technology end-user.