UK schools step-up the fight for global education

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Sixty million children are still out of school across the globe, despite a pledge by world leaders to ensure primary education for all.

Sixty million children are still out of school across the globe, despite a pledge by world leaders to ensure primary education for all.

Furthermore, another 200 million children cannot read or write despite going to school because of lack of resources and trained teachers.

Campaigners are trying to hold world leaders to account for their United Nations Millennium Development Goal pledge to ensure that all primary-aged children are in school by 2015. However, at the current rate of progress, there will still be 48 million children out of school by this deadline.

This month, UK schools will be seeking to bring new impetus to the global campaign when they take part in the inaugural Education for All Day. Taking place on Friday, June 21, it is being organised by the Steve Sinnott Foundation and will see schools taking part in activities including assemblies, theatre productions, blogging and radio broadcasts.

MPs and media will be invited to visit the schools and resource packs have been prepared by teaching experts to help. There is also a new  website from which participating schools can download materials and contact each other. 

The event is being seen as a pilot and it is hoped it will become an annual fixture from 2014.

Elsewhere this week, the Global Campaign for Education UK has said it expects 5,000 schools to have signed up to its Send My Friend to School initiative by the summer. 

The campaign, which has been running for eight years, also engages schools with the fight to hold world leaders to account and helps students to lobby their MPs and raise awareness of global education barriers.

Send My Friend provides a free pack for schools with DVDs, teachers’ resources and posters. The theme for 2013 is Every Child Needs A Teacher – highlighting the problem of a lack of trained teachers in many countries.

Each year, the annual Steve Sinnott Award appoints two students as Young Ambassadors for Send My Friend. For 2013, they are Sam Whittingham and Millie Wells, both 15, from Ringwood School in Hampshire, who recently visited India (pictured) where they investigated why so many children, especially girls, are not receiving the quality of education they deserve.

Meanwhile, July 12 could become a new focus for the global education campaign. The date is the birthday of Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani school girl who survived after being shot by Taliban extremists because of her stand for girls’ education in Pakistan. She will be 16 this year.

Former prime minister Gordon Brown, now the United Nations special envoy for global education, is pushing for July 12 to be recognised as Malala Day and this will be one of the focuses for the inaugural Education for All Day.

The Steve Sinnott Foundation was established in 2009 in memory of the late general secretary of the National Union of Teachers who was passionate about the global education campaign.

To register to take part in Education for All Day, visit www.educationforallday.org.

To register for Send My Friend, visit www.sendmyfriend.org and to read Sam and Millie’s diary for SecEd from their trip to India, go to http://bit.ly/ZOX2uJ

CAPTION: Barriers: Young Ambassadors for the Send My Friend to School campaign, Millie and Sam, visit a year 5 maths lesson during their trip to India (Photography: David Levene/GCE UK)


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