13.07.2010 - ODG

UNESCO Director-General Commends 1Goal Campaign

© UNESCO/Cynthia Guttman - UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova supporting the 1Goal Campaign alongside international child rights advocate Graça Machel, Kailash Satyarthi, president of the Global Campaign for Education (second from right), football stars and campaign ambassadors at the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Johannesburg on 10 July 2010

On 10 July 2010, UNESCO’s Director-General Irina Bokova attended a 1Goal panel discussion on Education for All with international children’s rights advocate Graça Machel, civil society groups, students and teachers at the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Johannesburg, South Africa.

“I have come to support the 1 Goal campaign,” said Irina Bokova, commending organizers for their efforts. “Your fervour and enthusiasm has caught on because around the world your message is reaching political leaders.”  The 1Goal Campaign has collected 14 million signatures since its launch in April 2010.

Education, however, is still not a top political priority of governments and global governance, said Ms Bokova, drawing attention to her efforts to place education on the G-20 agenda in the Republic of Korea in October.

Irina Bokova outlined three main challenges facing Education for All: reaching out to the marginalized; improving the quality of education, in particular linked to the dramatic problem of girls’ drop out at the secondary level; and financing.

“Our call for partnership must be underpinned by a strong sense of solidarity,” said the Director-General. “With political commitment to education, a strong campaign and the right policies, we can be successful.”

Daniel Cara, coordinator of the Brazilian Campaign for the Right to Education described the impact of the campaign in promoting more equity in his country’s policies. 1Goal Ambassador Nomsa Marzwai from South Africa spoke about the Nelson Mandela Foundation’s work to make the classroom “a humanizing space.” Kailash Satyarthi, president of the Global Campaign for Education, appealed for more political will on the part of governments and described UNESCO’s Director-General as the “one of the most dynamic leaders in the UN system”.

Closing the event, Graça Machel stressed the urgency of acting on access, retention and success, reiterating the need to reach marginalized children. She said that the business sector in South Africa had to show social responsibility for education, in the same way that it had joined hands with the government to make the World Cup a success.

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