Stump up for 15m teachers

28th April 2006 at 01:00
Britain has taken the lead in funding a global campaign to educate 100 million children. Brendan O'Malley reports

A coalition of charities, unions and children's rights organisations is calling for action to solve a global teacher crisis.

It has launched a campaign in schools and classrooms in 112 countries to ensure every child has a teacher and can learn in a class of under 40 pupils.

The Global Campaign for Education, which includes the National Union of Teachers, the NASUWT teaching union and charities ActionAid, Comic Relief, Save the Children and Oxfam, is urging world leaders to close the funding gap in poor countries so at least 15 million teachers can be hired to meet the 2015 target of ensuring primary education for every child in the world.

Lucia Fry, global co-ordinator of the movement, said at the launch in the House of Commons on Tuesday: "At current rates of progress, it will be 150 years before all children go to school."

She said teachers were the lifeblood of any education system and called on G8 leaders to give predictable, long-term aid worth pound;5.6 billion a year to enable poor countries to hire more teachers.

Britain has taken a lead by pledging pound;8.5bn in aid over 10 years which will go towards a global target of pound;55.6bn to get 100 million children into school.

Hilary Benn, the International Development Secretary, said significant progress has been made on debt cancellation since the G8 summit last year and Britain has also pledged a quarter of the funds needed for the global Fast Track Initiative for plugging funding gaps for poor countries with sound plans for education for all.

Mr Benn called on the world's other rich countries to "help fill the other three-quarters because their plans are ready to go. We just want to make them happen."

Mass public lobbying for more teachers is taking place worldwide this week.

Events range from the compilation of a children's dossier on the need for teachers in Uganda to the mobilisation of 5 million households in Bangladesh to press decision-makers for more teachers.

Jenny Tonge, the Liberal Democrat peer, urged British schools to get involved. She said: "Hopefully all MPs will be lobbied by their schools to support the campaign."

Schools working for the My Friend Needs a Teacher campaign with link partners in developing countries can enter for The TESHSBC Education for All prize, as part of the TES Make the Link campaign.

For details about pound;25,000 worth of awards for school link work, visit www.tes.co.ukMake_the_Link.If you have a good linking story, email Make_the_Link@tes.co.uk. For information on My Friend Needs a Teacher, visit: www.sendmyfriend.org

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