If the current pace continues, it will be 2086 before all children are in school and learning.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon joined last week a prominent roster of global leaders, campaigners and celebrities in Washington, D.C. to help launch a new worldwide campaign that aims to get 57 million children into school.
The coalition – which includes singer and songwriter Shakira, actors Jude Law and Goldie Hawn, and CNN International anchor Isha Sesay – will work even harder to accelerate progress until the end of 2015 to ensure all girls and boys are in school.
“You are here to help ensure that every child enjoys his or her right to education – and I am pleased to stand with all of you in working towards that goal,” the Secretary-General said in his remarks on the launch of the new campaign.
Mr. Ban noted that too many children are kept out of school because of displacement, conflict, child labour, child marriage, and sexual and gender-based violence. Moreover, entrenched poverty and lack of security often turn schools and neighbourhoods into places of vulnerability and brutality, instead of opportunity and vitality.
“No girl should be enslaved instead of being in school. No child should be married instead of being in school. No child should be denied an education because his or her country is at war. No child should be targeted for violence because she or he wants to exercise the fundamental right to education,” he stated. “Together, we can change this.”
The Emergency Coalition – convened by UN Special Envoy for Global Education, Gordon Brown – calls for four zeroes: zero child marriage; zero child labour; zero discrimination against girls; and zero exclusion from education.
Mr. Brown called the current situation “unacceptable from a moral, economic and global security perspective” and stressed the domestic governments and non-governmental organizations must be pushed to honour their commitments to out-of-school children.
“We made a promise to children worldwide that they would be in school by 2015,” the former British prime minister stated. “We must now put education on the international agenda in a way that cannot be ignored. Together, we will tackle the key barriers to education – child marriage, child labour and discrimination against girls.”
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Source: United Nations