World leaders reward Wall Street and fail children out of school

The 8th High Level Group meeting on Education for All concluded in Oslo, Norway last week. This much expected Oslo meeting touted to be the turning point in ascertaining education through mobilizing high amount of political will and resource commitment has once again failed the worlds hard to reach children. This applies to children particularly 218 million child laborers some of whom have never seen the classrooms and others who could not continue complete their basic education.

The group of heads of UN agencies, donors, partner governments and civil society meets every year to review the progress made and make new commitments. The participants are going back without any clear assurance of how many teachers would be trained, recruited and retained as 18 million teachers are required to achieve Education for All goals by 2015. Nor any clear indication came out of this meeting that how many countries will map and identify the hard to reach out of school children. This decision of the last year’s High Level Group meeting ironically does not find any follow-up reference in the Oslo Declaration.

The Global March against Child Labor has been demanding additional innovative and coordinated efforts for withdrawal of children from work place, in the lines of the internationally agreed legal framework and enroll them to schools. The Oslo Declaration from High Level Group does not address this vital problem with a sense of urgency. “Close to 2 trillion dollars has been committed by the Governments in the past eight weeks to reward the failure of the market place whereas $ 16 Billion is needed to fund education for all to allow spending on recruiting and training teachers that shape the minds and abilities of every child, reaching even those in the most challenging circumstances with quality education.

The poorest and the most vulnerable children must not fall further victim of global recession that was not their making. In the time of financial crisis this is the most worthwhile investment the global community could make” said Kailash Satyarthi, Chairperson Global March against Child Labor and President, Global Campaign for Education.

Commenting on the outcomes Andrew Tagoe, Regional Coordinator of Global March from Ghana said, “Our children will continue to work in the farms and fields of the rich, without their rightful claim to a decent and quality education if the world leaders do not respond to their situations now by putting more money for their education”.

“Full time child labor is complete denial of education, while mixing child work’s and education affects in lower school enrolment, late school entry, grade repetition, poor school grades and overall lowers school performance. There is also strong evidence of school achievement having a direct bearing on expected future wage earning capacity”,Said Cleophas Mally, Regional Coordinator, Global March from Togo.

Daniel Adzo a former child slave from Volta region of Ghana came to Oslo together with the Ghana Agricultural Workers Union, to participate in the opening ceremony of High Level Group together with Queen Rania of Jordan, President of Senegal Abdoulaye Wade, and Prime Minister of Norway Jens Stoltenberg. He was joined by Hem Lata Parik, a 16 year old girl from Rajasthan, India who was married forcibly as a child but later turned into anti child marriage activist as well as girl’s education campaigner now with Bachpan Bachao Andolan. Both the organizations are the national coordinators of Global March in their countries. These two children shared their experiences and challenged the world leaders to act urgently.

Source: Web Wire

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