On Tuesday RESULTS joined with other members of the Global Campaign for Education to host a presentation on ‘1GOAL: Education for All’ in the Houses of Parliament. We were privileged to be joined by Gary and Danielle Lineker, who are ambassadors for the 1GOAL campaign. The event, which was designed to stimulate interest in the campaign among parliamentarians and to raise the profile of a new All-Party Group on Education for All that we are currently working to establish, attracted a record number of Members of Parliament.
Many MPs attended the event after being contacted by schools in their constituencies through the Global Campaign for Education-coordinated Send My Friend to School Campaign. David Ward MP even brought along the beautiful ‘supporter scarf’ sent to him by a local school over the summer, which says ‘Get children into school by 2015!’
The event was chaired by Mark Williams MP, who is a former teacher. Mark set the scene explaining that 72 million primary school aged children in the world are out of school, and there are 760 million illiterate adults. He called on his fellow MPs to show their commitment to tackling this issue by signing up to the All-Party Group, which Mark will take a part in leading.
Gary Lineker spoke eloquently about his own involvement with the 1GOAL campaign, and explained that the campaign has engaged political leaders from around the world including President Zuma of South Africa, who held a summit on achieving universal education during the World Cup this summer. Gary said:
Delivering education for the 72 million children that are currently denied access to education is an achievable dream. We know that the world has the resources to deliver it. Now it’s time for world leaders to make it happen – for rich countries to deliver the funding needed, and for governments of developing countries to ensure that education is the top priority in their country.
He called on the parliamentarians present to ‘do everything you can for this campaign’ and particularly to join the new All-Party Group.
Danielle Lineker spoke movingly about her experience visiting a football and education project in Khayleitsha, the fastest-growing township in South Africa.
Following Danielle’s presentation, Ronan McKenzie and Rhiannon Kruze Edwards from Walthamstow School for Girls gave a speech on their experience visiting schools in Ghana on a trip arranged by the Global Campaign for Education and Plan International. Ronan and Rhiannon won the Steve Sinnott Award in 2010, and their visit clearly had a big impact on them. They explained to the parliamentarians present that the children who are first to be excluded from school when an economic disaster hits a family are girls. Ronan and Rhiannon’s excellent speech clearly drew a response from parliamentarians, many of whom signed up to support the campaign and join the new APPG at the event.
Also speaking, and giving more detail on the policies that are needed to actually achieve education for all, was David Archer, a senior staff member from ActionAid and a Board member of the Global Campaign for Education. David called on the UK government to maintain previous pledges to spend £1 billion per year on aid to education, as well as to take further efforts to reform the international architecture for delivering aid to education.
Finally, we were lucky to be joined by Andrew Mitchell, the Secretary of State for International Development, who presented on the UK government’s approach to achieving education for all. He spoke about his personal conviction that education is the key to development for families and individuals, illustrating his point with the story of a family he met in Ethiopia, who despite being very poor had access to education and therefore hope for the future.
We’re excited about moving forward with the new APPG on Education for All, which RESULTS will support through providing a part-time Coordinator. The group will supply a focal point for parliamentary activity on education for all, helping MPs to keep the campaign going in parliament and providing scrutiny and support for the government’s activities in this vital area.