A staggering 78 million girls and boys around the world today “don’t go to school at all” because of conflict, climate disasters and displacement – while tens of millions more receive only sporadic teaching – UN Secretary-General António Guterres said on Thursday.
Lending his support to a call for more funding for education in emergencies spearheaded by the UN global fund Education Cannot Wait (ECW) the UN chief insisted in a video message that no-one should be denied their chance to learn.
A full 222 million children today experience blighted education today, Mr. Guterres noted. To help them, 18 countries and private partners have pledged $826 million for ECW, on the opening day of the landmark conference.
“No matter who you are, no matter where you live, no matter what barriers stand in your way, you have a right to a quality education,” he said, in an appeal for greater international efforts to ensure that more vulnerable children and youngsters get their chance to succeed.
Delivering his comments at the Education Cannot Wait High-Level Financing Conference in Geneva, the Secretary-General welcomed the fact that since it was founded in 2017, the fund had trained 87,000 teachers and given seven million children in crisis “the education they deserve”.
As pledges from 18 countries and the private sector topped $826 million on the first day of the conference, UN Special Envoy for Global Education and Chair of ECW’s High-Level Steering Group, Gordon Brown, welcomed the international support for learning for all, as an investment in sustainable peace.
“We are talking about the most isolated, the most desolate, the most neglected children of the world. We’re talking about girls who find themselves trafficked or forced into child labour or child marriage, unless we can help them,” he continued.