28.09.2012 - ODG

Director-General to follow-up Education First with the private sector


The Director-General participated in the breakfast held with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Mr Gordon Brown, United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education, on Thursday, 27 September 2012, the day after the launch of the “Education First” initiative.

The purpose of the working breakfast, organised by the Global Business Coalition for Education, was to mobilize several major private-sector firms in order to find innovative solutions and identify local programmes that could be developed on a large scale to ensure the initiative’s success. Some US $1.5 billion have already been pledged for the Education First initiative for five years.

“Millions of young people go to school, but the quality of education received is poor. It is an immense waste of human potential that no society can afford. We must translate the excitement of the initiative’s launch into concrete action, quickly,” said Ban Ki-moon when opening the debate.

The Director-General pointed out immediately that the private sector’s contribution was much more than philanthropy: “Education is not a cost but an investment for the future. UNESCO works with major firms such as Microsoft, Cisco and Nokia to develop technological solutions in order to train teachers and educate marginalized children. The private sector contributes not only money but also ideas, tools and projects.”

“What I have learnt during my first five years as Secretary-General is that the United Nations cannot succeed alone,” Mr Ban Ki-moon stressed. “We need strong partnerships to achieve education for all and to bring 70 million out-of-school children into the classroom”.

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