World Bank pushing poverty eradication, education goals

April 20, 2013

FRANK FUHRIG

Poverty Education Goals
Poverty Education Goals

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim has a goal of “virtually ending” extreme poverty by 2030. “I have no doubt that the world could end extreme poverty within a generation, but this will be much harder than most people realise,” he said Thursday. “It is far from a given. It will take ingenuity, focus, commitment, and visionary leaders. But if we succeed, we will have accomplished one of humankind’s most historic accomplishments.”

Ahead of the World Bank spring meetings, global development agencies issued a call for “urgent action” to remove barriers to universal primary education. Ministers from eight developing countries with nearly half of the world’s 61 million out-of-school children – Bangladesh, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Haiti, India, Nigeria, South Sudan and Yemen – met Thursday at the World Bank’s Washington headquarters with the chiefs of top global development agencies.

Kim said that delivering effective education to all children creates a productive workforce and is “essential to ending poverty and boosting shared prosperity.” A series of reports to the United Nations found that countries across the spectrum of development have similar issues in education access and quality. The biggest problems arise for children from marginalized socio-economic groups: girls, children in slums, children in remote or ethnic minority communities, children with disabilities and children in post-conflict areas.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that hundreds of millions lack “the right opportunities” to learn. “We are here to identify concrete actions to ensure that all children and young people have access to school and quality learning by 2015,” he said. Participants in Washington emphasised not only universal primary education – one of the UN’s Millennium Development Goals for 2015 – but quality of education as a further issue beyond 2015.

The World Bank, which functions as a development agency and lender alongside its sister institution, the crisis-lending International Monetary Fund, said it has invested more than 29 billion dollars in education since 2000, including 3 billion dollars in 2012. Gordon Brown, United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education and British former prime minister, said that the Washington meeting needed to produce a “clear course of action” for meeting universal education goals.

“Inequality in education has become the civil rights issue of our generation,” he said. “It is not acceptable that every day 61 million children don’t receive an education because they’re born into poverty, made to go to work instead, or forced into child marriage.”

The January 2010 earthquake that destroyed Port-au-Prince left Haiti with more than 500,000 children without access to education, exacerbated by massive destruction of school buildings and infrastructure and a shortage of qualified teachers. “With the support of the international community, we launched a far reaching program aimed at guaranteeing access to free basic education for all Haitian children,” Haitian Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe said. “Our programme has now provided school access to 1.3 million children, constructed 800 new schools and recruited and trained 8,500 school teachers.” Source Deutsche Presse-Agentur

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