05 May 2007, New Delhi: “The World Bank and the European Commission have misled the world on their funding on education. The highest level ever meeting of donors was held on 2 May 2007 in Brussels has yield very little, and is in fact a big failure.
There is an urgent need of additional 6 billion USD per annum to bring 80 million out of school children into schools, and a total of 16 billion USD to ensure early childhood education, basic education and adult education to fulfil the Education For All goals.
The meeting was aimed at mobilising these resources, urgent and long-term predictable commitments, unfortunately it ended with good words and little money. The major announcements of 2.3 billion USD by The European Commissioner Louis Michel and 1.5 billion USD by the World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz is highly confusing.
In reality these announcements are nothing but continuation of their on-going funding for multi-year of the same tune. In fact, the World Bank commitment is just the repetition of their previous funding for the last 12 years and not ANY NEW additional dollar. In case of European Commission, the increment is only a meagre 22 million USD. Besides this, 8 million USD was announced by the German government, and 5 million USD by the private philanthropist George Soros.
Initial analysis indicates that the new money announced today will be enough to get less than 1 million children into school, a tiny fraction of the global total. The eighty million children missing an education were promised they would get the chance to go to school, all they have learnt today is that rich countries break their promises.
Once again the world’s richest nations have failed the world’s poorest and neediest children. The ministers came with their notebooks, not their chequebooks.
The very richest countries should be embarrassed about their continuing failure to deliver aid to basic education – particularly key G8 members like the US, Germany and Japan. Millions of children will continue to be denied the chance to go to school because these countries refuse to pay their fair share. It should be a source of embarrassment to the governments in Washington, Tokyo and Berlin that they are performing poorer on aiding basic education than smaller countries such as the Netherlands and Belgium”, alleged Kailash Satyarthi, International President, Global Campaign For Education and Chairperson, Global March Against Child Labour.
Kinsu Kumar a former child labourer from India was among a handful children who accompanied Kailash Satyarthi to this important conference attended by the finance and development aid ministers from several G8 countries as well as the top officials of The World Bank, European Commission and UNESCO.
75 countries are in danger of missing the Millennium Goal if more aid is not made available. It seems that the world leaders have written them off their agendas. Africa has the largest number of children who are out of school: 38 million. The region with the second largest group with out-of-school children is South and West Asia: 16 million children do not go to school. Four countries are home to the largest numbers of out of school children - India, Nigeria, Pakistan and Ethiopia (a total of 22.8 million out of school children)
In reality the clock is ticking, without a massive increase in aid the vision of Education For All will not be achieved. This must be delivered within two-years, to enable countries to plan for the enrolment of all children by 2009 – bringing the central EFA and Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target of universal primary completion by 2015 within reach.