Education vital for achieving other anti-poverty targets, Ban stresses

25 September 2008

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today highlighted the key role of education for reaching the globally agreed set of eight targets for slashing poverty, illiteracy and other socio-economic ills by 2015, known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today highlighted the key role of education for reaching the globally agreed set of eight targets for slashing poverty, illiteracy and other socio-economic ills by 2015, known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

“We have ample evidence that education improves individual incomes, economic growth, child and maternal health, resistance to disease and environmental practices,” Mr. Ban told an event focusing on the goal of “education for all,” which the world’s governments agreed in 1999 in the Senegalese capital, Dakar, to try to achieve by 2015.

“With an education, people flourish. Without it, they remain trapped in poverty,” he said in a message delivered by Ann Veneman, Executive Director of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), to the gathering of leaders from the private sector, academia, the faith community and governments.

The Secretary-General to the “great” progress achieved so far in the area of education, noting that more children are in school than ever before and that more girls are getting the equal education that they deserve.

“We have to build on this momentum based on the conviction that education can drive economic and social progress,” he stated.

Mr. Ban stressed that one of the best investments that any country can make is to educate girls and women, “so they can earn more income, improve their family’s well being, and show their daughters, in turn, what is possible once you can read and write.”

At the same time, he pointed to a need for a commitment to equity, noting that currently children from poor communities, rural areas and minority groups are almost always struggling to learn under worse conditions than others in society.

“If we do not close this gap, we put a whole generation at risk, and we allow problems to fester,” said the Secretary-General. “But if we ensure that all children get the education they deserve, we put both individuals and countries on a sure footing toward a stable future.”

The six “education for all” goals are to expand early childhood care and education; provide free and compulsory primary education for all; promote learning and life skills for young people and adults; increase adult literacy by 50 per cent; achieve gender parity by 2005 and gender equality by 2015; and improve the quality of education.

 

♦ Receive daily updates directly in your inbox - Subscribe here to a topic.
♦ Download the UN News app for your iOS or Android devices.

News Tracker: Past Stories on This Issue

UNESCO report paints mixed picture on progress towards ‘education for all’ goal

The number of children enrolled in primary school, the percentage of girls attending classes and the amount of money spent on education have all soared in the past decade, according to a United Nations report released today, but adult illiteracy levels remain stubbornly high and the cost of schooling in much of the world continues to limit access for millions of children.