Education International
Education International

Educators around the world urge politicians to fulfil their promise of universal access to education

published 21 April 2010 updated 21 April 2010

Each year, millions of educators around the world join the Global Campaign for Education (GCE) during the Global Action Week to urge politicians to fulfil their promise to achieve universal education for all by 2015.

EI and the 30 million educators that it represents participate actively in the campaign.

Together with its partners within the GCE, lesson plans, posters and other campaign material were produced to help to get 72 million children into schools by 2015. In order to maximise efforts and take the opportunities available, this year's Global Action Week theme Financing quality public education: a right for all will be closely linked to the 1GOAL: Education for All campaign which has been organised around the football World Cup which takes place between June and July in South Africa.

EI General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen says: "The year 2010 is crucial as decisions must be taken now in order to reverse the situation and accelerate the process by moving up a scale. Our message is simple: education beats poverty."

EI is proud that its member organisations have been very active in their lobbying efforts during Global Action Week.

In the United States, president of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), Randi Weingarten met with the country's Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and presented her with a soccer ball signed by students from Columbia Elementary School in Palm Bay, Florida, signifying the thousands of American students and teachers who are participating in this year’s Global Action Week and 1 Goal campaign. "Access to a quality education is a human right and essential to stability, democratic governance and the economic development of all nations," Weingarten said.

The AFT is also conducting a grassroots operation, calling on members and their families around the country to teach the lesson and write to their U.S Representative asking them to co-sponsor Education for All Act. For more details please visit the AFT's campaign site: aft.org/1goal

To encourage their members to make use of the Global Action Week lesson plans and take part in the campaign, National Education Association president, Dennis Van Roekel wrote them a personal message: "I am writing to invite your school to join this international movement and take part in 1GOAL: Lesson for All. These curricular activities were developed to help students understand the issues and help raise awareness about the importance of education as a human right." To find out more about the NEA's activities this week, please click here.

Van Roekel has also co-authored an article with The Most Revered Desmond Tutu, Honorary Chair of the Global AIDS Alliance, entitled "Facing the Future: Global Education at the Crossroads" in the Huffington Post. "Educators around the world are united in the belief that education is a fundamental human right," they wrote. "Add your voice with ours in urging the Obama Administration and your member of Congress to help create a better, safer and more just world for every child. We hope that President Obama attends President Zuma's Education Summit at the World Cup and follows through on his inspired commitment of $2 billion to establish the Global Fund for Education. Congress must create a foundation for this effort by supporting Congresswoman Nita Lowey's Education for All Act of 2010."

In Canada, the Canadian Teachers' Federation (CTF) stitched together a montage of videos by teachers and pupils across the country reminding their government that education is the right of every child around the world. The video was shown to senators and members of parliament on 20 April on Parliament Hill. To show the video, please click here.

Below is a summary of activities that have taken place so far in various countries across the globe:

Angola: Please see joint activity with Denmark.

Austria: Global Action Week kicked off with a 1GOAL football match between visually-impaired pupils and Austrian football players. The football match was played in the dark in solidarity with the children.

Bangladesh: The week was launched with a national seminar on “National education policy, Education Budget: Our Expectation”. The Education Minister, Chairperson of the University Grant Commission and Co-chair of the National Education Formulation Committee were present, as well as 130 people from diverse groups who raised their voices to ask for an increased education budget and effective use of resources.

Côte d'Ivoire: A 1GOAL Lesson For All was held at the Economic and Social Council in the capital Abidjan. It was a public Lesson attended by various people including representatives from the ministries of education and finance. About 2000 people were expected to attended this activity.

Democratic Republic of Congo: 1GOAL activities during Global Action Week aim to include an expected 88 000 participants many of whom will take part in the 1GOAL Lesson for All. The Coalition has prepared banners, T-shirts and a School's Pack, which includes the Lesson for All.

Denmark: The Danish Lesson for All is focusing on Angola. Danish volunteers visited Angola, and collected photos, videos and games from the country, all of which have been included in the teaching materials. The highlight of Global Action Week will be an event in Parliament Square in Copenhagen.

France: The coalition has been working closely with the Senegalese coalition in jointly organising a football tournament on 23 April at Senegal’s Diambars Centre (an education centre for young football players protecting them from illegal trafficking). In France, the coalition is also organising a series of football matches, involving a symbolic 1GOAL reading at the beginning of each match.

The Gambia: At the start of Global Action Week, the Minister for Basic and Secondary Education gave a statement on national television and radio in support of 1GOAL. The message will be repeatedly featured on community radios throughout the week. The 1 GOAL Lesson for All took place on 20 April in one of the country’s regions most in need of education, attended by 15 parliamentarians and the Minister of Basic and Secondary Education.

Ghana: The Ghana National Education Campaign Coalition launched the 1Goal: Education For All campaign and its Education Financing fact sheet this week with a colourful event attended by the media, its private sector partner Tigo Telecommunication Networks and civil society organisations.

Georgia: National sports competitions kicked off 1GOAL events this week in the Georgia capital, Tbilisi. Campaigners have teamed up with the Football Federation, the Parliamentary Committee for Sport and Culture, USAID, Save the children, UNICEF and World Vision to support 1GOAL. To see a video of the activities, which was broadcast on public television on 20 April, please click here.

Greece: Greece has been actively promoting the 1GOAL: Education For All campaign, and around 7 000 students have already signed up to 1GOAL.

Kenya: A 1GOAL press launch was held yesterday, attended by major media houses in the country and broadcast live. Various activities are planned for the rest of the week, with campaigners aiming for significant numbers to sign up for 1GOAL by the end of the week.

India: Global Action Week kicked off in India on 20 April with a one-on-one meeting with members of parliament in New Delhi, where children raised questions on the state of education financing in the country. In the discussion with the 12 parliamentarians, those present agreed to raise these issues with fellow parliamentarians. A number of parliamentarians will also be present at a roundtable session scheduled to take place on 22 April in New Delhi.

Japan: In Japan, 41 940 children from 351 schools are taking part in the Global Action Week this year, which is more than double that of last year. The children were asked to create yellow cards to be presented to Japanese Prime Minister, Yukio Hatoyama, before 11 June. The yellow card symbolizes the lack of support to education by the Japanese government. The Lesson for 30 parliamentarians as well as Foreign minister Katsuya Okada took place on 20 April.

Nepal: The Coalition opened the week with an article on corporal punishment. Various activities are taking place including round table discussions on the state of education in Nepal.

Nigeria: The 1GOAL message was presented at the finals of the largest youth soccer tournament in Nigeria. The theme of the 2010 tournament was Education and Football: Hand in Hand. The presence of the Nigerian coalition the Civil Society Action Coalition on Education for All at the tournament was a culmination of the emerging partnership between education advocates and football administrators.

Norway: Campaigners led by Global Campaign for Education board member, Helga Hjetland, president of EI member organisation Utdanningsforbundet, Mimi Bjerkestrand, and EI vice President Haldis Holst literally kicked off the Global Action Week by kicking a ball to score a goal for education at the Teacher’s House in Oslo. The day also included a 10-minute play-off between students and football players. The event was attended by the Minister of Education, the President of the Football Association, and football stars from the Norwegian men and women’s football teams, all of whom have signed up for 1GOAL: Education For All. Holst thanked all the participants and underlined the importance of reaching out to girls currently out of school. She challenged the soccer world to let the action for education to continue until the Women's World Cup of Women in 2011. To see footage of the event click here.

Pakistan: Forty-five districts are taking part in the 1GOAL Lesson for All activities during Global Action Week. Posters have been printed, disseminated and displayed in all districts and the capital, Colombo. The Coalition is airing a song on radio and television developed to support the cause of education throughout the week. A documentary for 1GOAL, including celebrity supporters is being produced.

Palestine: The Lesson for All will take place in schools, with One million students are expected to participate in this year’s Lesson for All, which took place on 20 April, following on from a conference recently held with EI member organisation the General Union of Palestinian Teachers (GUPT), the Ministry of Education and representatives from the legislative council.

Papua New Guinea: Global Action Week was launched with a pledge from the Minister for Community Development that 20% of the national budget will be allocated to education. The meeting was attended by a number of government officials including the Minister of Education, as well as the Deputy City Manager, who stressed that the government must provide and improve infrastructure services at schools.

Senegal: The week was launched on Monday in Dakar, with the coalition "Coalition des organisations pour la défense de l'éducation" (COSYDEP) securing champion Yékini, as an ambassador for the campaign and champion of the Education For All goals. Please also see joint activity with France.

Somaliland: Global Action Week activities kicked off in schools with students reciting poems, singing songs and performing skits around the 1GOAL theme. Parents, students, traditional leaders, politicians, representatives from NGOs and the Ministry of Education took part, asking officials and international donors to finance education in order to get free quality education for all children in the country.

South Africa: 50 000 school children in South Africa participated in the 1GOAL Lesson for All across the country on 20 April. In Johannesburg the lesson was taught to a class by South African television star Hlubi Mboya. The lesson is also available on the join1goal.org website and will be broadcast on the Learning Channel in Africa until the end of the World Cup.

Solomon Islands: At the first-ever launch of the Global Action Week there, the Minister for Community Development gave a powerful speech agreeing that the government should increase the annual education budget to 20%, and stating that she will bring the issue up in Parliament. The highlight event included a debate between two secondary schools, where politicians and leaders heard how students value education.

Suriname: Campaigners and community supporters will be marching to the national stadium and calling on government officials to sign up to 1GOAL this week. Other activities to promote 1GOAL include a poetry competition and a sports festival.

Tanzania: Global Action Week was launched with a national debate on education financing and a consultative workshop on financing pre-primary education. Activities will continue throughout the week, climaxing in a national rally to "call for evidence" on education financing. An education-themed exhibition of essays and drawings by students from across the country will also be on show.

Uruguay: Activities will be taking place throughout the week with school children, football associations and NGOs showing support for the 1GOAL campaign. Ambassadors include Oscar Washington Tabarez, head coach of the Uruguayan national team, and Santiago Ostolaza, head coach of the Cerro Largo football team and the Melo Wanderers football club.

For updated information about Global Action Week around the world, please visit the Global Campaign for Education website.

Are you taking part in an activity for the week? Please tell us all about it: muleya@campaignforeducation.org

Video highlights from Global Action Week