G8 nations are 'Underachievers': School Report shows rich nations broke their promises to poor children

Published: 19 September 2006

Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States have shown themselves to be misers when it comes to educating the world’s children, says the Global Campaign for Education (GCE) in a new report titled 'Underachievers.'

"100 million children will not go to school today because of promises broken by rich countries like Germany, Italy, and the US. World leaders should be ashamed," says Kailash Satyarthi, President of the Global Campaign for Education.

The report shows that putting every child in school for the first time in history is easily affordable. It would cost $10 billion a year, which is 1 per cent of the trillion dollars the world spends annually on the military.

"What rich countries like Germany, Italy and the United States give to education is pocket money. The US gives barely $1 per citizen per year, compared to $20 dollars per person per year in the UK," according to Lucia Fry, policy advisor for the GCE.

In a class of the 22 richest countries in the world, Germany, Japan and Italy all receive an embarrassing final ‘D’ grade, coming 14th, 16th and 17th place in the class, and the richest country in the world, the United States, comes second to bottom of the class with an over all ‘E’ grade.

When rich countries established the Education for All Fast Track Initiative (FTI) in 2002, they promised to fund all poor countries with viable education plans. So far 20 poor countries have had their plans approved, but are still waiting for donors to provide the money. Next year the FTI projects a shortfall of $610 million.

Fulfilling this funding gap is the first step. The second step is for countries to remove the caps placed on public spending by IMF conditionalities. Governments must resolve the contradiction between IMF policies which prevent them from scaling up spending on education and hiring more trained teachers, the report also notes.

"Rich country leaders need a lesson in keeping promises to the 100 million children out of school. They should have to look these children in the eye and tell them why they are failing to deliver," says Gorgui Sow, Africa coordinator for GCE.Underachievers: A School Report on Rich Countries’ Contribution to Universal Primary Education by 2015 – Global Campaign for Education report.

Contact Information

For interviews, photographs and a full copy of the report, please contact:

Nicky Wimble – nwimble@oxfam.org.uk +44 7876 476402

Alex Kent - lex@campaignforeducation.org +44 7977 157879 or +27 76 428 5390