Ministers missing in action, children missing an education, says the Global Campaign for Education

Published: 30 April 2007

This week, millions of children, teachers and parents are joining together to form the world's longest chain to urge rich country leaders to give the promised money for every child to go to school and be taught by a qualified teacher. US, Japan, Germany and Italy are the most miserly of the rich countries, collectively giving just 10% of what is needed to address the global education crisis.

After years of pressure from campaigners, a high-level donor conference has been called for 2nd of May to encourage rich G8 and OECD countries to raise the pitiful amounts of money currently given on an annual basis for education. Co-convened by Louis Michel, Gordon Brown and Paul Wolfowitz, activists say it is the best opportunity in five years to secure the breakthrough needed to keep the promises on basic education. Thus far, just a handful of Development Ministers have confirmed their attendance and campaigners fear that most – including nearly all of the wealthy G8 nations – may send junior representatives in their stead.

"It is disappointing to see high profile politicians quick to respond to friendly photo calls with children, proudly declaring their solidarity with those too poor for an education, but then missing from the important meetings where money should be committed to get those children into school," said Kailash Satyarthi, Global Campaign for Education (GCE) President.

In G8 countries, the GCE is furiously lobbying Development Ministers to make time in their diary for this critical meeting and to bring their check books with them.

In 2000, world leaders committed to Education For All by 2015.  This year marks the half-way point to achieving both these and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). A total of $16 billion per year is needed to fulfill all education aid promises, say campaigners. Reaching $9 billion annually would at least meet the goal of enabling all children to have a primary education. Yet, seven years on, the most recent figures show aid to basic education limping along at less than a third of that amount.   
 

"It is critical now that rich countries show us their money. We can't go on listening to lofty promises, when 80 million kids are still out of school and those lucky enough to be in a classroom are often being taught by an unqualified teacher. Money is needed urgently to train teachers, build schools and buy books," added Kailash Satyarthi.

Notes to Editors

Notes to Editors

The Global Campaign for Education (GCE) is a movement to end the worldwide crisis in education. GCE's mission is to make sure that governments act now to deliver the right of every girl, boy, woman and man to a free, quality education. Oxfam International is a founding member. Other members include major international aid agencies and union federations, as well as national networks or coalitions for the right to education in about 120 countries. Supporters lobby their legislators and governments, raise public awareness and put pressure on international institutions like the World Bank. GCE has been campaigning for education since 1999.   www.campaignforeducation.org

Education for All has been promised time and time again:

  • In 1990 and in 2000 the Education for All goals were agreed by world leaders. The 2000 World Education Forum guaranteed the right of all adults and children to be educated and set out six goals addressing the needs of pre-school and school-aged children, youth and adults to be achieved by 2015.
  • The Millennium Development Goals set targets for all children to complete primary school and for ensuring that girls have an equal right to boys.

Global Campaign for Education's demands of poor countries:

  • Offer a legally binding guarantee that education shall be free and compulsory for all, using institutions and the media to communicate this right to teachers, parents, children and the general public.
  • As a matter of urgency, agree and implement an integrated long term education strategy to achieve the full Education For All agenda
  • Demonstrate political commitment by making available adequate domestic financing, reaching the following minimum targets:
  • Government spending on education to be 6% of GDP, with at least half of this amount being for basic education
  • Allocation of 20% of budgets to education.
     

Global Campaign for Education's demands of rich countries:

  • Fully fund the global external financing gap for the achievement of Education For All, giving $15-16 billion per annum in Overseas Development Assistance by 2009
  • Ensure that all nations, but especially low-income countries, have support for long-term strategies by providing high-quality, predictable aid, including for recurrent costs, through the Education For All Fast Track Initiative
  • End exclusion and discrimination within their own education systems, ensuring an equal chance for every child.

Global Campaign for Education's demands of International Institutions:

  • Allow poor countries sufficient fiscal space to enable long-term sustainable investment in public education systems
  • Ensure that public sector wage caps do not prevent recruitment of urgently-needed teachers and other public sector workers.

 

Contact Information

For more information, please contact:
Nicky Wimble, Oxfam on nwimble@oxfam.org.uk and +447876476402