100 organisations support launch of the EducationCountdown campaign

The #EducationCountdown campaign is officially launched today – and more than 100 organisations have joined 500 youth leaders in over 85 countries and notable celebrities in supporting it.

World leaders made a promise in 2000 that every child would be in school and learning by 2015. But with 500 days left before the deadline, 58 million children are still out of school.

Sarah Brown, co-founder of A World at School, said: “Children and young people are demanding their education and now they are supported by over 100 organisations calling for action.

“Together we can create an unstoppable groundswell of demand – a movement to get every child in to school and learning, no matter who they are or where they are born.”

Aid to support basic education has declined rapidly – by more than 10% between 2010 and 2012 – and many countries are not scaling up domestic financing fast enough.

Now hundreds of A World at School Global Youth Ambassadors across the globe in more than 85 countries have spurred a movement – led by a World at School working alongside NGOs, civil societies, teachers, faith-based organisations and businesses – which is demanding the right to education for all children.

During the 500-day campaign, A World at School will focus on five key barriers that keep children excluded from school – providing education in war-torn areas, protecting girls from child marriage, making sure children are at school and not at work, ending discrimination against girls and ensuring enough teachers are trained.

You can get involved in the campaign by signing up to receive #EducationCountdown campaign updates. You can also get involved in many other ways. Go to our #EducationCountdown campaign page to find out how.

Launching #EducationCountdown on the eve of World Humanitarian Day, United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education Gordon Brown said: “Today we officially launch 500 days of action aimed at helping millions of children go to school and learn.

“We have set our initial targets and a movement is forming across the globe. Youth, faith leaders, businesses, NGOs, civil society and teachers are uniting to build pressure for change.  

“This undeniable force for action will deliver results for our children.”

Ban Ki-moon, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, will mark the 500-day countdown by meeting with education campaigner Malala Yousafzai at the United Nations in New York today.

Pop stars, film actors and politicians are also throwing their support behind the countdown.

Award-winning singer and songwriter Shakira said: “We have 500 days to make a real difference. Help us spread the word to get children out of the street and into the classroom.”

Chinese pianist and UN Messenger of Peace Lang Lang said: “The key to peace and development in the world can only be achieved through education. Let us, therefore, unite all of our efforts.”

Today Sesame Workshop has joined the campaign to get every child into school and learning and Count von Count has taken over @sarahbrownuk for the start of the #EducationCountdown.

Sherrie Westin, Executive Vice President, Sesame Workshop said: “For 45 years, Sesame Workshop has been helping children around the world grow smarter, stronger and kinder. Both organisations focus on providing quality education to all children and we are thrilled to have our beloved Sesame Street Muppets bring light to this important campaign.”

The business community has also joined in the global groundswell of support led by the Global Business Coalition for Education. Chief Executives Aliko Dangote and Strive Masiyiwa are just two of the high-profile individuals supporting the campaign.

As media partners in #EducationCountdown, Discovery Learning Alliance produced, and Discovery Communications is airing public information video clips across Discovery’s networks (Discovery, Science, OWN, ID, etc.) in the United States and around the world.

The next stop for the campaign is New York City, where hundreds of young people representing all countries will descend in September to kick off the week of the UN General Assembly to demand the right to education be realised by the presidents and prime ministers attending the annual UN meeting.