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Education: The Anti-Poverty Investment Ignored by the G8

Education campaigners criticised G8 leaders during their recent meeting in France for their failure to prioritise education which they argue is being “recklessly reduced or re-labeled” by donors.

This came as the Global Campaign for Education (GCE) delivered the findings of Gordon Brown’s report, “Education for all; beating poverty, unlocking prosperity”  launched by Graça Machel and Gordon Brown in Johannesburg ahead of the G8 meeting in May.

The key findings of the Brown Report on Education are that a renewed global commitment to education will:
  • Increase economic growth in the poorest countries by 2% per capita, creating the conditions for deep reductions in poverty and opening up new opportunities for investment.
  • Lift 104 million people out of poverty and save the lives of some 1.8 million African children
  • For every $1 spent on education, a further $10-$15 would be generated as a result of the education growth premium, front-loading this investment would reduce aid dependency and pay for itself after 22 years.

GCE is calling for governments to pledge funding to help train an additional 1 million teachers for Africa, get 67 million children into school and improve the quality of education for another 200 million. GCE defends the right of all children to free quality education, and argue that this should be a vital element of development and of economic growth.

Across Africa, pupils are often in classes with over 100 other pupils, are leaving school without even the most basic skills and funding from donors is being cut as aid budgets reduce. For example, in Malawi, more than half of children tested in English at the beginning of Grade 4 could not read a single word.

The Campaign calls for an expanded and enlarged education fund to channel financing, strengthen education systems and develop innovative public-private partnerships for education delivery. The Fund would be within the Education for All Fast-Track Initiative Partnership (FTI) and would aim to generate an additional $3-4 billion per year in financing for basic education.

It also called on G8 leaders to mobilise the $16 billion per year in aid needed for education in order to recruit, train and support teachers, construct classrooms and new education systems. With the exception of Britain, no G8 country is on track to meet their education commitments and GCE looks to Germany to shift this trend as they seek to develop a new education strategy that could see aid for education in Africa doubling

The GCE' new high-level Panel announced

Gordon Brown, former UK Prime Minister, and Graça Machel, international advocate for children’s rights, have announced the Global Campaign for Education’s high-level panel on education at an event held at the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Johannesburg. Gordon Brown and Graça Machel are the panel’s co-convenors and will work with a group of influential, international figures to boost efforts to achieve Education for All.

The panel announcement was made in tandem with the launch of Panel Co-convenor Gordon Brown’s new report, ‘Education for All: beating poverty, unlocking prosperity’.

For the full list of panel members please visit Global Campaign for Education's site.

Source: Global Campaign for Education

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