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Civil society body warns against constraining education funding amid crisis
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11:09, April 26, 2009

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The Global Campaign for Education (GCE) said on Saturday that education funding must not be constrained although many people have lost their jobs amid the current global economic downturn.

"With estimates of unemployment increasing by 30-50 million in the developing world, and 200 million more people being pushed into extreme poverty, it's crucial that funding education is not constrained," said the GCE, a civil society movement that aims to end the global education crisis, on the sidelines of the Spring Meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which kicked off on Saturday in Washington D.C..

"Investment in education is the strongest line of defense for any country's economic survival and comeback," says "Education on the Brink," a new policy report from the GCE.

The report quotes GCE members as saying that "the future of millions of children and illiterate adults now rests on whether the new cash injection given by the G20 to the IMF is accompanied by a substantive overhaul of macroeconomic policy frameworks."

There are 75 million children out of school and 776 million illiterate adults across the world today.

"A good education is everyone's human right, essential for individual growth as well as the economic growth of every nation," said Kailash Satyarthi, GCE president. "Paying teachers is not a luxury expenditure, nor is it optional. There's not a single IMF worker who got to their position without a good education and a bunch of great teachers. Everyone should have this chance, and that means making the resources available to recruit, train and pay teachers."

According to the GCE report, a person's earnings increase by 10percent for each year of schooling they receive -- translating to a 1-percent annual increase in GDP if good quality education is given to the entire nation.

The report, therefore, urges more people to lend their help so as to make education available for as many people as possible.

"Educated and healthy people have the best opportunities to participate in and make lasting contribution to their societies," says the report.

"Whilst rich countries have launched fiscal stimulus packages to promote economic growth, this luxury is denied to poor nations," says the report.

"Poor countries must be allowed the flexibility in macroeconomic policy to continue the good work they've started. Children waiting at the school gates should not be left out because of the short-sightedness of global institutions," it adds.

The report also urges the IMF to carry out the review on loan conditional ties in poor countries that has been promised by Dominique Strauss Kahn, the IMF's managing director. "Richer countries should insist that the new mandate and lease of life they have given to the IMF is accompanied by a real commitment to reform the institution."

"Education is a long-term investment with long-term gains," said David Archer, a GCE board member. "Funding for education, from both domestic budgets and aid, must be substantial, long-term and predictable, so that education ministries can employ, train and pay the teachers that are needed to teach their citizens."

"The 16 billion dollars in external financing needed annually to reach 'Education for All' must be made available, for the long-term and in a predictable way," says the GCE report.


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