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'Education For All Week' Highlights Home Truths

Tail-end ranking for New Zealand on league table of 22 OECD nations

Save the Children New Zealand has called on the government to take action during Education for All week (19-23 April 2004) by increasing its level of support for basic education in developing countries.

In November 2003, the New Zealand government received an ‘F’ on its report card from the Global Campaign for Education (GCE) for the quantity and quality of funding directed offshore towards upholding every child’s right to an education. New Zealand ranked last overall on a league table of 22 OECD (developed) nations, revealing that it invests too little in aid and not enough of that aid is spent
on basic education.

More than 100 million children worldwide have no access to education, 60 million of whom are girls.
This week’s “World’s Biggest Lobby”, organised by the GCE, takes place exactly four years after 182 countries met in Dakar, Senegal in April 2000 and committed to provide education for all by 2015.

Save the Children New Zealand’s Executive Director John Bowis said that while Save the Children and other members of the GCE work tirelessly on providing access to education for millions of children, the support of OECD countries like New Zealand is crucial.

“Although New Zealand’s International Aid and Development Agency (NZAID) has indicated that basic education is a priority, which is welcomed, a substantial and rapid increase in spending is needed for this country to meet its global commitment to help achieve education for all by 2015,” said Mr Bowis.

“In areas like Indonesia’s West Timor Province, New Zealand is making a difference. By supporting Save the Children’s emergency education programme there, the New Zealand Government has helped Save the Children provide an education and improved teaching methods for approximately 16,000 refugee and local children,” he said.

“Imagine how much more positive change could be achieved if New Zealand were to meet the internationally recognised aid target of 0.7 per cent of its Gross National Income.”

“Education is one of the most important rights guaranteed to children under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which New Zealand adopted in 1993. There is much more for this country to do for some of the world’s poorest children.”

ENDS

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