A world of unrealised promise

ghana%20primary%20school.jpg'Keeping Our Promises on Education', last week's high-level meeting on international funding for education in the developing world was seriously disappointing, according to Book Aid International.

Jointly convened by Gordon Brown (UK), Paul Wolfowitz (the World Bank), and Louis Michel (EU) the most important meeting on education financing for five years failed to generate any new money.

Donors have given just 1% of the 9 billion that's urgently need to help fix the crisis in education in the developing world.

The Global Campaign for Education (GCE), of which Book Aid, where I'm the head of Policy and Advocacy, is a member, released a damning report showing a significant fall in rich country aid to funding basic education in the poor world. The report showed that the US, Japan, Germany and Italy are the most miserly of the rich countries, collectively giving just 10% of what is needed to keep their own promises of every person having the chance of an education by 2015.

Thankfully the UK's giving 92% of its fair share to international education funding. But some of our closest allies in the international community like Germany are giving only 39% and the US is giving just over 20% of its fare share. The UK clearly needs to mobilise the international political will necessary to turn this crisis around.

The improvements we desperately need to educational quality in the developing world will continue to languish unless considerably more of the 9 billion that's needed to fix the education crisis is raised.

Access to information, including through book provision, local publishing and library development is vital to realising our
ambitions for more and better education for the world's poorest children and adults.

Since UNESCO identified the critical importance of literacy and literate environments to Education for All, these issues have languished, with too few resources and too little interest. They need to be central to international efforts to improve educational quality and that can only happen effectively with access to the necessary resources.

The Guardian's expose of the gap between donor promises and crumbling classrooms in Nigeria shows just how far we have to go.

In an effort to make the link between improvements to educational quality and access to books and libraries in places like Nigeria we followed the article up with a letter. It was published in yesterday's Education Guardian.

More information:

The Guardian: If we wait for aid, we wait for ever by Polly Curtis

The Guardian: Not living up to its promise by David Archer

The Guardian: Libraries for Africa by Sara Harrity

Global Campaign for Education

Class of 2007 Report by the Global Campaign for Education

Literacy for Life UNESCO Education for All Global Monitoring Report 2006