About the Global Campaign for Education
"Individual NGOs have made remarkable contributions towards education in many countries, and they have now joined in a Global Campaign for Education. Today, I say to the NGO community: we cannot win the battle... without your expertise, your energy, and your capacity for action."
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan
speaking at the GCE rally in Dakar, Senegal, 27 April 2000
At the dawn of a new millennium, development NGOs and teachers unions operating in 180 countries have joined forces to launch the Global Campaign for Education (GCE). With this initiative, we seek to make governments liable for the fact that 125 million children world-wide are denied access to basic education and that moreover, one adult in every three - representing an additional 880 million people - is illiterate.
It is high time that governments and international financial institutions, such as the World Bank, the IMF, etc. recognise that education is a fundamental human right and that the responsibility of providing quality education lies with states themselves. We believe that only world-wide mobilisation of civil society will force the stakeholders to take action. And mobilisation is what we are actively committing ourselves to.
Education is a basic human right and fundamental to the fight for human dignity and freedom. For 125 million children and 880 million adults, that right is violated everyday.
The Global Campaign for Education promotes education as a basic human right, and mobilizes public pressure on governments and the International Community to fulfill their promises to provide free, compulsory public basic education for all people; in particular for children, women and all disadvantaged, deprived sections of society.
In 1990 at Jomtien, in Thailand, 155 governments promised Education For All by the year 2000.
Despite impressive developments in science and technology, that promise not only remains unfulfilled, but the absolute number of illiterates has increased, particularly in South Asia and Sub-Saharian Africa.
In April 2000, 185 governments met in Dakar, Senegal to recommit themselves to achieve education for all by the year 2015 and gender equity by 2005.
One in two children in Africa, and one in three children in South Asia, fail to complete primary school. Girls account for the majority of the children out of school. Lack of properly equipped classrooms, relevant books and materials, trained and motivated teachers means that their education is cut short, and little is achieved in terms of learning outcomes. Systemic flaws and indifference to the needs of learners, particularly those of the underprivileged and underdeveloped sections of society, have increased the wastage rates and resulted in huge loss in the returns of investments so far made.
The Global Campaign for Education takes serious note of all the broken promises. We commit itself to mobilize public opinion to hold governments, the international financial institutions and aid agencies accountable for their promises, particularly the 2005 target for gender equity in primary and secondary education, and the 2015 targets for universal completion of primary education and a 50% reduction in adult illiteracy.
The campaign is driven by the conviction that quality education for all is achievable, and by the concern for the immense costs of failure.
The GCE believes that in an increasingly knowledge-based economy, exclusion from education will translate into growing poverty, inequality and deprivation.
The Global Campaign for Education commits itself to achieve its mission with objectivity, transparency and accountability and to follow democratic norms and processes in all its plans and actions.
We believe education is
A universal human right;
The key to poverty alleviation and sustainable human development;
A core responsibility of the state;
Achievable if governments mobilize the political will and available resources.
We call for
Free and compulsory, quality public basic education for all children, for at eight years, and a second chance for adults who miss out;
Increased provision of quality early childhood education and care;
Increased public expenditure on basic education, and new resources through aid and debt relief for the poorest countries;
An end to child labour;
Democratic participation of, and accountability to civil society, including teachers and their unions, in Education decision making at all levels;
Reform of International Monetary Fund and World Bank Structural Adjustment policies to ensure they support rather than undermined free, quality public basic education;
Fair and regular salaries for teachers, properly equipped classrooms and a supply of quality text books;
Inclusive and non-discriminatory provision of services for all;
A Global Initiative for basic education to mobilise political will and new resources in support of national education plans to realise the 2015
The GCE is a representative organisation, driven by its members. The campaign was founded in 1999 by a group of NGOs and teachers' unions, including Education International, Oxfam International, Global March Against Child Labour, Actionaid, and national NGO networks from Bangladesh, Brazil and South Africa.
Since then, we have welcomed into the coalition many other major international, regional and national groups active in the fields of education, human rights, social justice and the eradication of poverty - including World Vision, Public Services International, FAWE, Save the Children UK, ASBPAE, CEAAL, VSO, Fe y Alegria, Ibis, and more. Please check the List of Members for full details.
The GCE actively encourages and supports the formation of national platforms, bringing together community groups, unions, education NGOs, churches, youth, women and other stakeholders to create broad-based citizen pressure for action on the Education for All goals. National coalitions active in the GCE now exist in about 25 countries (representing more than 250 local groups), and we hope that the number will continue to grow. In 2002, organisations in 90 countries around the world organized local events as part of the GCE's annual Global Action Week.
GCE members elect a 12-person Board every two years. The Board guides the development of campaign strategy, manages the budget, and oversees the work of a small secretariat (currently two members of staff). The Board is accountable to the members, and members are welcome to propose new initiatives, actions and positions to the Board (usually via the secretariat).
All members are expected to contribute to the success of the campaign, both through membership fees and through their active engagement in advocacy to achieve the Education for All goals. In return, the GCE strives to ensure that the concerns and priorities of all of its members are well-represented in international forums, and seeks to enhance the influence and capacity of members to influence education policy at all levels.
The campaign Secretariat exists to serve members, and anyone with concerns, questions or ideas to raise is encouraged to contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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