Zuma backs education drive

2009-10-06 22:08

Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma on Tuesday pledged South Africa's support to a global campaign to ensure education for all the world's children.

"We are determined that the 2010 Fifa World Cup should leave a legacy for education on this continent," he said joining other world leaders' messages of support for the campaign via satellite.

The 1Goal: Education for All campaign was aimed at ensuring the 75 million children not in school were provided with primary education. Half of these 75 million children lived in Africa.

"South Africa is committed to do whatever is necessary to ensure that all our children get a quality education," Zuma said.

He was speaking at Johannesburg's Ellis Park stadium where world leaders sent messages of support that were broadcast across the globe via satellite link.

United National secretary-general Ban Ki-Moon said: "We cannot rest until every child receives a quality education."

Most important goals at World Cup

He said 2010 marked a decade since the world committed to providing primary education for all. To date 40 million children benefited from this pledge but more needed to be done.

"With your support, the most important goals at the 2010 World Cup will be the millennium development goals," Ban said.

Queen Rania al Abdullah of Jordan, co-founder and co-chairperson of the campaign, said more support was needed to ensure children grew up to fulfil their potential.

"How much will it cost to get children from low income countries into early childhood programmes? US$11bn, what the world spent last year on computer games.

"Or £7bn, what one British bank raised from investors in 2008. If one industry, one bank has that much money, how can the world's richest countries not find the same amount?

"When the final whistle blows at the World Cup in 2010 we want every politician to know our goal, one goal, that global education is a global dream," she said, urging countries like the US to support the campaign.

A force for change

Fifa president Sepp Blatter, speaking from Zurich, said the 2010 World Cup represented a "unique opportunity" to mobilise support around the globe to provide education for all children in Africa.

The soccer spectacle was a good rallying point for world leaders to improve global education. Football was a "force for change".

"Together we can work towards making universal education in Africa a reality," he said.

South Africa's soccer greats, former Bafana Bafana midfielder Doctor Khumalo, former Bafana Bafana defender Mark Fish as well as players Matthew Booth and Shaun Bartlett also pledged their support.

The 1Goal campaign calls on football fans to sign their names to a petition to urge world leaders to act on providing education.

Soccer players from across the globe have backed the campaign, including Rio Ferdinand, Thierry Henry, Robinho, Michael Essien, Nicolas Anelka and Michael Owen.

It is also supported by celebrities Kevin Spacey, Jessica Alba, Clive Owen, Bono and Kelly Rowland.