UK Chancellor Gordon Brown is urging nations to build on their promise at the G8 summit last year to more than double aid to Africa and join a £6bn drive to bring free education to all children.
In a press article, he said the move would help children to "break free from the vicious cycle of illiteracy, unemployment and poverty". Brown said he will urge G8 finance ministers at a meeting in Moscow next month to draw up detailed plans by 2007 for achieving that goal. He claimed that the development of an educated and skilled population would help poor countries to expand their economies. The provision of universal free primary education is one of the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The trade union movement, Education International in particular, fought for the inclusion of the MDGs in the MDG+5 Summit Declaration after the USA proposed to reword the document, removing all reference to the goals. Brown wrote: "Offering primary education to every child is the most cost-effective investment the world could ever make. "For $10bn a year every child in every continent could have teachers, books and classrooms. "For less than two pence each per day, we could provide schooling for every child in the poorest countries. "In 2006 and 2007, 'education for all' should not just be a slogan. It should become a global cause around which the world can unite that affirms our dignity as human beings." Brown said 110 million children worldwide, the vast majority of them girls, currently receive no education. According to World Bank estimates, well over two-thirds of the poorest countries charge some type of fee for primary education. Brown said a new international finance facility should be launched to pay for long-term schooling.