The Educate A Child (EAC) initiative, which has succeeded in providing quality schooling to 600,000 children over a period of just four months, is aimed at reaching 10mn children by the end of 2015, HH Sheikha Moza bint Nasser announced yesterday.
“The EAC programme is inspired by the Millennium Development Goals, which have been agreed at a global level, seeking to enable all children to access primary schooling by 2015,” she told the opening session of the EAC High Level Strategic Meeting (HLSM) to accelerate efforts to reach out of school children.
Pointing out that EAC is targeting 34 countries, which represent more than 70% of the 61mn children who are out of school, the chair of the two-day meeting expressed her pleasure that representatives of 17 countries, which together represent 60% of these children, are attending.
HH Sheikha Moza is the chairperson of EAC’s parent body Education Above All Foundation, apart from being a UN Advocate for the second Millennium Development Goal on universal primary education and Unesco Special Envoy for Basic and Higher Education.
Describing the meeting as a continuation of what began at the Unesco meeting in Paris six months ago, and in Washington earlier this month, she stressed that the determination “must be translated into action on the ground, to enable these children to gain their birthright to educational opportunity”.
“Our initiative is about finding creative approaches and mechanisms to ensure that children have access to schooling, no matter how difficult the challenges, from conflict to poverty.
“Sixty-one million children are out of school. The world has a moral and development responsibility to address this problem – a responsibility that cannot be evaded.
“How can we build stable communities, achieve economic growth and create a sounder future if we cannot overcome the conditions that hinder children from having
access to schooling?” she asked.
Sheikha Moza stated that “it is truly embarrassing that we live in a world where, on one hand, technical progress allows for so much advancement in education, while on the other hand, the humanitarian issue of children missing out on school cannot be addressed, or is ignored”.
She said: “The EAC programme is based on the notion of innovative solutions to this problem, working together with all the partners who believe, as we do, in a world in which no child is deprived of his or her right to education, under any condition.”
To achieve the second Millennium Development Goal, namely to see universal primary education become an inalienable and a sustainable right, Sheikha Moza suggested action at three different levels.
They are creating pro-active programmes that address the conditions and factors that prevent children from entering school, that ensure children do not drop out of primary-level education, and eradicate once and for all the phenomenon of out-of-school children.
Highlighting that all these issues are interlinked, and partial solutions will only generate other types of problems, Sheikha Moza said that is why EAC works to target two different levels.
The first involves rapid intervention in emergencies whereas the second is about bringing together a comprehensive global vision, that will allow the different actors to work together to confront a range of socio-economic problems faced by these children, who also suffer from difficulties, from disease, to hunger and poverty.
“There is a need to strategically link education to efforts to fight poverty, provide gainful employment, invest in skills development, encourage sustainable development, enhance mechanisms of social protection, bolster gender equality, emphasise human development and respect cultural differences,” she urged.
Reported by: Caye Global News, Gulf Times
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