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UN Secretary-General: “Education should be the first priority”

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has taken the initiative to mobilise the UN agencies, the World Bank, civil society organisations as well as the private sector, to help achieve education for all children by 2015. He will formally launch his initiative “Education First” at the UN Assembly in New York on 26 September.

Mr Ban has invited Education International and the Global Campaign for Education to serve on his initiative’s Steering Committee, furthermore composed of the heads of UN agencies, the World Bank, a representative of the business community, as well as Sir Gordon Brown, the recently appointed UN Special Envoy for Global Education.

“Education is key to everything the UN wishes to achieve. It should be the first priority in all member states,” the UN Secretary-General said at the committee’s first meeting on 30 July in New York. He explained that on his travels in member states he often asks young people what they expect from the UN. “More and better education is always on top of their lists”, he said.

EI President Susan Hopgood, who represents EI on the Steering Committee, said that Education International wholeheartedly supports the UN Secretary General’s initiative. She noted that the funding of education should be the responsibility of governments and that new fiscal strategies and measures may be required to generate the necessary funds.

The EI President also stressed that to enhance education quality “we must make every possible effort to improve the status of the teaching profession”.

By appointing Ms. Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, as secretary of the Steering Committee, Ban Ki-moon affirmed the leading role of UNESCO in accomplishing the Education For All targets.

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