Education International welcomes the attention G8 leaders have given to education as one of the most effective tools to combat poverty and promote economic and democratic development. However, it is concerned about the emphasis put on the role of the private sector.In the Declaration of the G8 Summit "Education for Innovative Societies in the 21st century" of 16 July, it is stated that the private sector will help achieve better quality education, while not enough emphasis is given to the special responsibility governments have in providing public education services. The “neo-liberal orientation” of the document does not come as a surprise. In the meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on 6 July, EI General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen made it clear that "education should not be left to the market". "In some G8 countries the notion is fading that government has a crucial role and responsibility in the delivery of quality education. We recognize the private sector has a role to play, and in some areas we welcome public-private partnerships. But these partnerships should not be a substitute for the role of public authorities. Governments must remain in the driver’s seat," van Leeuwen said. For the full text of the G8 policy statement, please click on the following link below.