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Last Updated: Friday, 26 January 2007, 16:55 GMT
Young ask leaders to fund schools
Gordon Brown and Queen Rania Al-Abdullah of Jordan
Queen Rania and Gordon Brown praised the youngsters' approach
Young people have challenged leaders at the World Economic Forum to fund and provide a quality education for all.

A group of young delegates told UK Chancellor Gordon Brown and Queen Rania of Jordan at the meeting in Davos that education had to be the top priority.

The leaders should fight for education in the same way as they had battled diseases like HIV/Aids and malaria, they told the meeting in Switzerland.

They were representing the views of youngsters from 50 countries.

You have to ask is that really an education at all?
Simon Moss
WEF delegate

The Davos delegation came from a four-day brainstorming session in Greenwich, south-east London, last week organised by the British Council.

One of the six young delegates picked to address the forum, 23-year-old Simon Moss from Australia, told BBC News politicians needed to do much more to ensure all young people had access to a primary school education.

This aim must be met by 2015 under the Millennium Development Goal, to which the international community has committed itself.

Mr Moss said: "When you have got 100 or 120 children in a classroom in Somalia with three to a desk - you have to ask is that really an education at all?

"The Millennium Development Goals are fantastic benchmark but we have got to give some meaning to these aims and follow through."

Simon Moss
Simon manages a youth-run development organisation

It was also important to ensure there were well-trained and motivated teachers available and that children studied a good curriculum, he said.

Mr Moss said the global community had done some "amazing" work in battling inequalities in health.

Now it needed to do the same with education and create a global fund for education, he added.

Mr Brown, who was at the World Economic Forum session, said he was there "to listen to the wisdom of youth".

'Step change'

If the challenge were met, he said, "we would be the first generation in the world where every young person went to school".

He praised the young people's proposal as "idealism combined with a plan for action".

And he called on all the major countries to come together to support quality education for all.

Queen Rania told the group they were potentially a "politically transformative force".

Director general designate of the British Council, Martin Davidson, said: "Education is clearly at the heart of driving changes towards a just and inclusive society at local, national and international levels.

"A step change in education provision and delivery is needed to meet the demands of the 21st Century."

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