Gordon Brown calls for global fund for education target

Gordon Brown Gordon Brown wants to bridge a £13bn funding gap to reach the world's poorest communities

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Gordon Brown is making an impassioned call for the international community to make education a higher priority - and to make a co-ordinated plan to achieve universal primary education by 2015.

The former UK prime minister wants to create a "global fund for education" to raise the £13bn per year needed to bring lessons to the poorest children.

There are 68 million children in the world missing out on primary education.

There is a "hidden and silent emergency in education," warns Mr Brown.

The global target of providing access to a primary school education for all children by 2015 was one of the millennium development goals set out by the United Nations and world leaders at the beginning of the century.

But as that date approaches, Mr Brown says the target is set to be missed, with progress slowing rather than accelerating.

On Wednesday he is publishing a report setting out the case for a global fund for education, which will inject finance and energy and become a "game-changer" in the flagging bid to bring a basic education to all children.

Start Quote

Cameras never capture children going hungry for want of education, or lives devastated for want of learning”

End Quote Gordon Brown

Mr Brown wants to galvanise global efforts to reach the groups of children who are missing out on the first steps of education.

These are concentrated geographically - in parts of sub-Saharan Africa and south Asia - but they are also characterised by other inequalities, such as girls who do not receive the same opportunities as boys.

Countries with conflicts, such as Afghanistan or South Sudan, are also much more likely to have children without any access to education. More than two in five of children missing out on education are living in countries with violence and political conflicts.

It means that in South Sudan, girls are more likely to die in childbirth than to get beyond the first years in primary school.

Classrooms and teachers

Even if the numbers of those out of school have fallen by 40 million since the millennium targets were set, he argues that these pockets of deep deprivation remain.

Mr Brown's report calls for a more effective way of targeting such problem areas - and highlights the need for a greater sense of urgency.

"Cameras never capture children going hungry for want of education, or lives devastated for want of learning," he says.

Brac school in South Sudan First lessons in an education project in South Sudan, where violent conflict has been a barrier

The proposed education fund echoes the type of public health initiatives which systematically target a disease or a health problem with a clearly-defined outcome

He argues that health campaigns have been much more successful in raising funds - and that current funding drives for education have proved inadequate for the scale of the challenge.

Sub-Saharan Africa faces a shortage of one million teachers, the poorest countries need another four million classrooms, he says.

An independent global fund would seek to raise more funds from "non-traditional" donor countries, such as China and Russia, Mr Brown argues.

At the World Innovation Summit for Education summit in Qatar, Mr Brown had called on technology entrepreneurs to contribute to such a project.

Mr Brown contrasts how in a hi-tech, modern "knowledge-based and interconnected global economy" there are still tens of millions of children who miss out on any schooling.

And among those who are at school, too many receive an education of "abysmal quality".

Having had a seat at the top tables of international conferences, Mr Brown says that this next big project is a bid to improve the chances of those whose "basic rights do not make it on to the agendas of global summits".


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  • rate this

    Comment number 29.

    If only Gordon cared as much for the British economy before he almost bankrupted the country!

  • rate this

    Comment number 28.

    Yes of course it's a spledid idea.
    To fund it? Well that isn't clear.
    He could get a loan,
    No not again - groan,
    From the taxpayer over the year!

  • rate this

    Comment number 27.

    Some of these comments are unbelievable. Despising trying to educate people on less than £1 a week because they might take "British jobs"? Are you serious? People sink so low they want to keep the rest of the world in absolute poverty deliberately? And no we dont have absolute poverty in the UK, we have "relative" poverty. Times can be tough, but lets not think we have it hardest in the world.

  • rate this

    Comment number 26.

    I am sick and tired of the rants against Gordon Brown - note I am not a labour voter. The finance giants did this, not Gordon Brown, not the Labour Government, not the EU or even all the other leaders and countries who followed the same path.

    A tiny number of greedy, amoral and deluded men created the tools that brought the roof down on us all; and do you know what, they are doing it again!

  • rate this

    Comment number 25.

    How sad to confuse the issue with a personality. Whether or not you agree with Gordon Brown's political history, and as with anyone there were positives as well as negatives; the issue is that without an education children are likely to grow up at risk of being indoctrinated and radicalised, whilst girls in particular are likely to be consigned to a life of poverty and death in childbirth.


Comments 5 of 29


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