Poor schooling undercuts growth: Brown

2011-05-21 10:04

Johannesburg - The failure of poor nations to prioritise education will weaken economic growth and undermine efforts to meet poverty targets, former British prime minister Gordon Brown said in Soweto on Friday.

Brown was speaking at the launch of "Education for all", a report that calls for the creation of a global fund on education to help governments get children into school.

It will be presented to political leaders at the G8 summit in France next week.

It was a "scandal" that some 70 million children were still not getting to attend school despite pledges made by global leaders to provide funds to make education accessible to poor children, Brown said.

"In the next four years we must make a commitment to train a million teachers. Pledges have to be honoured," he added.

Brown heads the High Level Panel on Education, part of the Global Campaign for Education, a grouping of campaign groups pressing governments for better schools. Graca Machel, the wife of Nelson Mandela, is another panel member.

The report said sub-Saharan Africa faced the biggest regional challenge, with 10 million children forced to drop out of primary school every year.

"For households living with poverty, external shocks such as drought, natural disasters, unemployment or rising food costs may results in children being forced into employment," the report said.

Brown said the world was slipping backwards from an international commitment made in 2000 to get all of the world's children into decent quality education by 2015.

In Malawi, more than half of children tested in English at the beginning of Grade 4 could not read a single word, the report said.

  • Father-Time - 2011-05-21 10:31

    Now if only the masses and the government in this country would realize this. Go to shebeens and you see the youngsters drinking, smoking drugs and sleeping around, emulating their "leedahs" and all during school hours. They dont want to learn, its not that they cant, they are just to lazy and ar ehoping to be given some political job or a civil servant position. When the black masses here realize that its lack of education thats keeping them down and not the white man, then this country will start to improve.

      LBS - 2011-05-21 15:23

      Amen to that!

  • Sentor - 2011-05-21 10:43

    Tell this to the unions who run a very lucrative protection racket for the lazy and incompetent. Without Independent oversight and the ability to hire and fire our public education system will not improve. The solution is to expand the private education sector and for our taxes to fund those institutions based on the number of pupils they have registered. Those Independent schools should get funding only if they deliver the goods,the only problem is that evaluation is only possible after a few years but the parents will take over the problem in that they won't register their children at but badly private schools which will die a natural death because parents will have the freedom to choose and clearly will choose well run disciplined schools which get results. The private sector could provide technical as well as academic curriculum's and their survival will depend on their too would the jobs.

  • maseratifitt - 2011-05-21 10:54

    This is a well known fact and particularly important in so-called third world countries, like ours. Governments like ours, however, often choose not to follow this route because the uneducated are easier to dogmatise and brainwash, in the interests of political "power". Government will tell everybody that education is a high priority, and the budget will reflect that, but in practice nothing much is being done. We need to pursue education in this country with warlike vigour. Every waking moment should be dedicated to attaining educational targets, especially in the fields of natural sciences,mathematics, engineering and economics. Education should be completely free of political influence.

  • twolips - 2011-05-21 11:01

    Mr Brown does not yet realise that the governments of most African countries, including our own, do not want too many educated people in their electorate. I admire the thought, but it will be an uphill battle.

  • Slapper - 2011-05-21 11:09

    The problem with ignorance is, those who are ignorant don't know they are ignorant. Our leaders really believe they know everything, simply because they are our leaders. We are all born with the same intellectual capacity, what we do to develop it, is up to us and our teachers. In Africa it is the culture to learn from your elders and leaders, rather than to learn from or listen to a foreigner. This alone will dictate that Intellectual flexibility will not take off in Africa at any time soon

  • william.botha - 2011-05-21 11:44

    I wonder, is it the ingredients or the container?

  • motsokwane - 2011-05-21 12:11

    Good morning Mr Brown.While you were the prime minister of England, you had all the influence and the power to end the debts of the third world countries and you failed to use this power.What makes you think that you will bring the difference this time? considering your political status and how the British are perceiving you.

      Slapper - 2011-05-21 13:11

      Begging Bowl again? Get over it and get up off your A**E

      Johan - 2011-05-21 14:23

      Good morning Mr Motsokwane, the people in a specific country make the difference, not outsiders. You are waiting for hand-outs again. First world countries are not interested in relieving debts in third world countries because they squander all the money through politics, war and power-struggles. Africa is living proof. First world countries only try and diffuse this "struggle" because if they don't pretty soon they will be attacked by these power hungry tyrants.

      ex-pat - 2011-05-21 18:41

      Because, Motsokane, Africa is a bottomless pit. Brown and his lot poured billions of the British taxpayers' money into Africa - where has it gone? And anyway, why don't you get of your fat behinds and do something for yourselves for a change, instead of whining to the mhlungu to help, please, baas? Johann, surely you jest? They're in no danger whatsoever of being attacked by these jumped-up dictators. They do it through a misplaced sense of white guilt.

  • ex-pat - 2011-05-21 18:37

    Huh. He's got a nerve. Education in Britain has sunk to an all-time low under the rule of his New Labour party! He and his Blair buddy have a lot to answer for.

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