The Director-General urges G8 leaders to increase investment in education

The Director-General urges G8 leaders to increase investment in education
  • © UNESCO/M. Ravassard

The Director-General of UNESCO, Mr Koïchiro Matsuura, has urged G8 leaders, meeting today in L’Aquila, Italy, to go beyond the commitments made in 2005 and increase investment in education.

In his letter of 18 June 2009 to all G8 Heads of State and Government, the Director-General underlined that a majority of countries look towards the leading industrialized powers to restore confidence and set the foundations for a more inclusive and sustainable economic recovery. Mr Matsuura recalled that in April 2009, G20 leaders reaffirmed their commitment to meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and recognized the importance of investing in education and training (see Flash Info N°057-2009*).

“As the United Nations agency charged with coordinating the drive to achieve Education for All (EFA), UNESCO is deeply concerned that sustained progress towards universal primary education and other education goals will be halted or reversed. Economic growth has partially enabled advances in education in low-income countries. Now, the economic crisis could lead to cutbacks in education budgets and delay the recruitment and payment of teachers, curtail the construction of new classrooms, and restrict the scope for targeted spending on vulnerable groups”, stated the Director-General.

Mr Matsuura went on to underscore that “in Africa, international aid has played a determining role in helping many governments to abolish tuition fees and make school accessible to the most disadvantaged children. Enrolments have increased much more rapidly since 2000 than in the 1990s. This effort must continue and be supported by the international community. It is crucial for donors to honour and go beyond the commitments they made at the G8 summit in Gleneagles, UK, in 2005.”

In conclusion, the Director-General argued that “increasing investment in education is one of the keys to sustained recovery. Financial markets can recover but a child carries the consequences of a lost education for the rest of his or her life.” He continued: “this is not the time to undo the development dividends of hard-won education gains. It is crucial that G8 leaders voice their commitment to support quality education as a driver for a sustainable recovery. I urge you to maintain and increase aid to education, in the interest of economic development, of social cohesion and peace.”

  • Author(s):Office of the Spokesperson
  • Source:Flash Info N° 135-2009
  • 08-07-2009
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