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Monday, 26 February, 2001, 13:15 GMT
Primary education for all
Gordon Brown
Gordon Brown: "Education should be the birthright of every child."
Primary education will be made available to all children in Commonwealth countries, under plans announced at a child poverty conference in London.

Chancellor Gordon Brown, opening the conference with Nelson Mandela, announced the setting up of a fund next year to make primary education universally-available within the Commonwealth.


The case for investing in primary education is unanswerable and remains mostly unanswered

Gordon Brown, addressing the International Action Against Child Poverty conference
The fund - to be known as the Queen's Golden Jubilee Year Fund - will seek to help an estimated 75 million children in the Commonwealth who at present do not have the "basic human right" of an education.

The Chancellor said the fund would help "by building a fair and effective education system and creating new opportunities for girls and disadvantaged groups. We will call on business to support this effort".

The conference will also consider how international development targets can be implemented by 2015, including the goal of providing universal primary education in every country.

Education was the "very best anti-poverty strategy", said Mr Brown. "There is simply no better means to empower the powerless, to put their future directly in their hands. Education should be the birthright of every child".

"The case for investing in primary education is unanswerable and remains mostly unanswered," said the Chancellor.

Public spending

But, he said, that there were still 130 million children who did not have access to any education and 900 million adults who were illiterate.

And public spending on education in the least developed countries was only $40 per pupil, he said, compared with $5,300 in the most advanced countries.

But the Chancellor warned that good intentions and international targets had to be put into practice.

"Too often, the world has set goals like the international development targets of 2015 and failed to meet them," he said.

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23 Nov 99 | Education
Target for primary schooling for all
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