HH Sheikha Moza bint Nasser with Gordon Brown at high-level EAC meeting.
By Joseph Varghese/Staff Reporter
There is an urgent need to invest in education to break the cycle of economic failures in various parts of the world, Gordon Brown, former British prime minister and the UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Global Education, said yesterday.
He was speaking at the opening session of ‘High Level Strategic Meeting to Accelerate Efforts to Reach Out Of School Children’ organised by Educate A Child (EAC), an initiative of HH Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of Qatar Foundation.
EAC aims to provide quality primary education for 61mn children, most of them living in developing countries and conflict zones. The initiative has already reached out to 600,000 students since its inception six months ago. EAC plans to educate around 10mn children by 2015-2016.
Addressing the opening ceremony of the forum, Brown said that EAC had done a very commendable job in such a short time.
“Nobody in the present times has done more than HH Sheikha Moza bint Nasser for the cause of education and no educational initiative has been more effective than EAC in such a short span of time.”
He emphasised the need and urgency to act on educational initiatives as there were only just 1,000 days left for realising the Millennium Development Goals (MDG). “We need to recall the face of the poorest children and educate them on an emergency basis,” he added.
Brown said that many countries had already cut many of their educational aids. “There is a responsibility on us to act in this regard and make sure that every child goes to school.”
He also said that there was also gender discrimination in different parts of the world as girl children were put to child labour and human trafficking.
“No country can become a high earning country without education. When you educate a girl, you educate a family, a community and the society at large,” Brown added.
He said that there were several discussions on this count in Washington recently and many more meetings to follow.
Citing the example of Malala, the Pakistani girl who was shot by extremists for standing up for her right to education, Brown said that the time had come to stay firm for the education of all the children in the world.
“EAC is the beginning of a great movement. This must lead us to the first generation in the history of the world who will witness all the children in the world attending school. This is the dream and we are working to realise it,” he concluded.
Addressing the gathering, HE Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohamed bin Jabor al-Thani, Assistant Foreign Minister for International Co-operation, pointed out that the initiative focused not just on the quantity but the quality of the education too.
He said: “It is an international mechanism to deal with the problems of education. It aims to provide the unalienable rights of education to children all over the world and tackle the issues associated with it.”
“We have provided support for education in more than 36 countries. The strategy is to provide educational opportunities for all the children around the world so as to realise the millennium development goals,” he said.
He also called on all the international community to support the initiative.
BELOW: HE Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohamed bin Jabor al-Thani addressing the gathering.