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G8 nations are 'Underachievers'. School Report shows rich nations broken their promises to poor children

01.01.70

Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States have shown themselves to be misers when it comes to educating the worlds children, says the Global Campaign for Education (GCE) in a new report titled Underachievers.

100 million children will not go to school today because of promises broken by rich countries like Germany, Italy and the US. World leaders should be ashamed, says Kailash Satyarthi, President of the Global Campaign for Education.

The report shows that putting every child in school for the first time in history is easily affordable. It would cost $10 billion a year, which is 1 per cent of the trillion dollars the world spends annually on the military.

What rich countries like Germany, Italy and the United States give to education is pocket money. The US gives barely $1 per citizen per year, compared to $20 dollars per person per year in the UK, according to Oxfam policy advisor Tom Noel, author of the GCE report.

In a class of the 22 richest countries in the world, Germany, Japan and Italy all receive an embarrassing final D grade, coming 14th, 16th and 17th place in the class, and the richest country in the world, the United States, comes second to bottom of the class with an over all E grade.

When rich countries established the Education for All Fast Track Initiative (FTI) in 2002, they promised to fund all poor countries with viable education plans. So far 20 poor countries have had their plans approved, but are still waiting for donors to provide the money. Next year the FTI projects a shortfall of $610 million.
Rich country leaders need a lesson in keeping promises. They should have to look those children in the eye and tell them why they are failing to deliver, says Lucia Fry, Policy Advisor for the Global Campaign for Education.

Notes to Editors

The report also criticises smaller rich countries like Austria, Spain, Australia and Switzerland for failing to make sufficient contributions to the FTI. Between them, they could fill the current financing gap by increasing their aid to 0.33% of GNI and targeting just 7% of aid towards basic education in poor countries.

Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands and Denmark rank in the top of the class. The report credits the UK for showing leadership with a commitment to 10 year plans, allowing money to be used on recruitment, training and retention of qualified teachers.
The Global Campaign for Education is a coalition of international non-governmental organisations, teachers unions, children and campaigners in over 110 countries. Our members are united in their mission to make sure all governments live up to their promises and take immediate action to deliver the right of every person to have a free, quality education.

Expert opinion

Halter Marek

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Le College de France
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