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Thursday, 27 April, 2000, 09:52 GMT 10:52 UK
Senegal condemns 'wasteful' studies
Tanzanian children
The Dakar conference is seeking basic education for all children (Photo: Unesco)
International organisations are spending too much money on studies and not enough on action, Senegal's President Abdoulaye Wade has told the United Nations-sponsored World Forum on Education.



The forum will be just another wasteful talk-shop in which the millions spent could have been used more usefully in training teachers.

Teachers' unionist Iba Ndiaye
While the organisations' achievements were undeniable, Mr Wade said, there was "enormous waste and slowness" in much of what they did.

"Growth in studies in the developing countries is faster than economic growth," he told the forum in the Senegalese capital, Dakar on Wednesday.


Abdoullaye Wade
Abdoullaye Wade: Criticised "enormous waste and slowness"
"I've just commissioned a study into these studies, in the hope that this will be the last straw that breaks the camel's back and finally allows us to do away with this waste of resources and energy," joked Mr Wade, who was elected president in March.

'Talk-shop'

Similar criticisms have been made of the education forum itself, attended by delegates from 180 countries, which follows a similar meeting 10 years ago in Jomtien in Thailand.

"Dakar 2000 will suffer the same fate as Jomtien 90," Senegalese teachers' union leader Iba Ndiaye said.


Education worldwide
113 million children out of school
Two-thirds are girls
Africa spent three times as much on debt repayments as on education
India spends twice as much on arms as on education
"It will be just another wasteful talk-shop in which the millions spent could have been used more usefully in training teachers."

The goals set out at the 1990 meeting - including the provision of universal primary education by 2000 - are still far from being met.

Girls excluded

Ealier, United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan made a powerful appeal for more education for girls, calling on the world's technology millionaires to extend to girls' education the kind of help they had already given in the field of health.

Social upheaval and the cutting of education spending have left 113 million children out of school.

Mr Annan pointed out that of the children who should be in school and are not, more than two thirds are girls.

"When a family needs extra income, the girl is more likely to be sent to work."


Conference aims
Universal education for children
Quality teaching
Equal opportunities for girls, minorities, the handicapped and war victims
Adult literacy teaching
How to finance education is likely to set the non-governmental organisations against the representatives of international financial institutions.

On Tuesday, 400 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) gave their backing to an $8bn spending programme to secure universal primary education.

The NGOs, drawn from 180 countries, called on states taking part in the forum to "commit themselves firmly to the fundamental right of all children to a free and compulsory education by 2015".

But the spending cuts required to secure foreign loans have forced many developing countries to cut back on education provision, or charge mandatory school fees which not all parents can afford.

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20 Apr 00 | Education
Blair effigies march for education
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