UK Government makes major contribution to education in poor countries; other G8 countries challenged to follow through on their

Published: 10 April 2006

Maputo, Mozambique - In Mozambique today (April 10) the UK government will announce that they will provide $15 billion in funding over ten years to ensure free education to the world’s poorest children. The Global Campaign for Education (GCE) welcomes this highly significant commitment and calls on other rich countries to provide long term funding for the 100 million children out of school around the world.

Despite numerous promises from rich countries, aid for basic education in poor countries remains shockingly low at $2.6 billion per year. An additional $10 billion per year is needed by 2010 to ensure that every child completes a quality primary education. To meet this goal, each G8 country must contribute their fair share based on gross national income.

“The G8 nations said at Gleneagles that they would work to help the world’s poor. Yet they contribute paltry amounts to education, one of the most effective routes out of poverty,” said Kailash Satyarthi, head of GCE. “The Education For All Fast Track Initiative should be at the centre of any effort to address this crisis and therefore we call on the UK to set an example by making a significant down payment to the FTI.”

One major problem facing poor countries is a desperate shortage of trained teachers. At least 15 million more teachers are needed if every child is to get a free quality education by 2015.

Predictability of aid is key – poor countries cannot plan effectively without knowing that aid flows will be secure and recurrent. In particular it is essential that they are able to pay teachers a decent salary and are confident that they can afford to train and hire more teachers to cope with increased demand.

“It’s a pretty basic concept: students need teachers, teachers need salaries. Unless rich countries make long-term education aid commitments, poor countries will continue to hemorrhage trained teachers. We will never break the cycle of poverty without education and there is no education without teachers,” said Max Lawson of Oxfam, a founding partner in the GCE.

Rich countries aren’t the only ones with work to do. The GCE also calls upon poor countries to develop assertive, long-term education plans and commit to dedicating a larger percentage of their budgets to education.

“Poor countries have a responsibility to their children. They must make ambitious 10 year education plans a top priority. Together we can achieve the Millennium Development Goal of having all the world’s children in school by 2015,” said Marta Cumbi, president of Mozambique’s GCE coalition.

Contact Information

For more information, please contact:
Taylor Thompson, Email: taylor.thompson@oxfaminternational.org
Phone: +1 202 321 2967

Two spokespersons from Mozambique are available for comment and can be reached through Nicky Wimble at +44 7876 476 402. The spokespersons are:
Marta Cumbi, president of Mozambique’s GCE coalition
Cardinal Uwishaca, Head of Oxfam Mozambique