Statement from Global March Against Child Labor representing 2000 member organizations in 100 countries including ITUC and Education International representing the interest of the child laborers and the hardest to reach children worldwide.
The position of the Global March has been further reinforced by the UNESCO Global Monitoring Report 2010 which underlines that Education for All Goal cannot be accomplished without addressing the widespread marginalization including child labor. The report further states that ‘the marginalization is solely responsible for failing progress in Education for All’. The report warned that at the current rate 56 million children are going to fail to make it to the classrooms by 2015. It is for the first time when the mutually reinforcing inter-linkages between education and elimination of child labor are strongly established in this report which has been the key advocacy activity of the Global March Against Child Labor during the last decade.
The report titled ‘Reaching the Marginalized’ was launched in a high profile event at the United Nations Head Quarters in New York today in the presence of the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, UNESCO Director General Erina Bokova, Education Minister of Keny Mohammad Elmi, Kevin Watkins, Director, GMR, Kailash Satyarthi, President Global Campaign for Education and the Chair of Global March and others.
‘72 million children still remain out of school in 2010 in spite of education being enshrined as a fundamental human right in the UN declaration of Human Right since its inception. United Nations will make all possible efforts to accomplish this Millennium Development Goal’ said UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon. He made a clarion call for enhanced funding to meet the development financing gap. He asked the donors to deliver on their pledges now.
UNESCO Director General Erina Bokova. said that ‘72 million children and 759 million adult illiterates’ remain denied their right to education and this is at a tremendous cost to the society and an entire generation is being lost to the current financial crisis’.
It was reported that there is $16 Billion financing gap and the current aid flows have been stagnating and there is 20% contraction of the aid flows last year to education. The GMR this time has designed marginalization and depravation indicator that shows children born in rich 20% of the households have 7-8 years of more education as compared to a girl born in rural area who will have only 2 years of schooling.
Kevin Watkins, Director of the GMR said that marginalization is key barrier to education and it requires integration of education in the wider poverty alleviation strategies. In addition it is required to make education free, accessible by opening more schools, constructing classrooms, with improved quality of education, hiring of more teachers, particularly women teachers so that more and more girls can attend schools and all of this is doable, provided the Governments have political commitment and ability to undertake identification of marginalized. He also suggested innovative mechanisms of private financing to make this possible.
Speaking on the occasion Kailash Satyarthi, President Global Campaign for Education said that Governments must prioritize education with adequate political will and with sufficient resources. He further said that an efficient, accountable and inclusive funding mechanism has to be in place to take this forward. He said that the hard to reach cannot be reached in this business as usual manner. ‘Countries must make special efforts to withdraw those children from difficult situations and bring them to classrooms. They must break the social and cultural barriers in education by forging multi-stakeholders partnerships. The scope of the work goes beyond the realm of only the education ministries. It demands inter ministerial cooperation and coordination. An effective inter agency coordination is equally important. The presence of the Secretary General will hopefully send a clear signal that various UN agencies have to join hands to accomplish the second MDG on education, which underpins the success of all the others’.
The Minister of Education from Kenya and a student Jenny from the inner city of NY school also spoke of depravation faced by them growing up in the poor communities.