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100+ world leaders demand urgent finance action to tackle education crisis

Gyas With Iffed Petition
Theirworld's IFFEd petition is handed to UN Secretary-General António Guterres​ in 2018 by Global Youth Ambassadors Ousmane Ba, Asmita Ghimire and Lian Wairimu Kariuki, watched by Gordon Brown, UN Special Envoy for Global Education (Theirworld)

Education funding, Global Youth Ambassadors, Gordon Brown, Let me learn

As the Transforming Education Summit begins, heads of state and leading economists echo the voices of young people by calling for drastic measures to be announced.

More than 100 current and former world leaders have called for the historic Transforming Education Summit to commit to tackle the education crisis through urgent financial action. 

That includes launching the ground-breaking International Finance Facilty for Education (IFFEd) to help lower-income countries deliver quality education to vulnerable and marginalised children. Theirworld and our Global Youth Ambassadors have been campaigning for IFFEd for several years – including handing a 1.5-million signature petition to the United Nations. 

Ahead of the summit, which begins today in New York, presidents, prime ministers and other top government officials have signed an open letter. It calls on leaders attending the event to commit to a bold finance action plan to transform the lives of millions of children and young people.   

The signatories include Gordon Brown, former UK Prime Minister and current UN Special Envoy for Global Education; Helen Clark, former Prime Minister of New Zealand; Fernando Henrique Cardoso, former President of Brazil; Joyce Banda, former President of Malawi; and Ban Ki-moon, former UN Secretary-General. 

The letter, also signed by leading economists, says: “Global education is in crisis. Today nearly 300 million children don’t go to school, more than 80% of whom are found in low-income countries, and 800 million young people will leave school without any qualifications.   

“Countries across the globe have had to cope with the financial pressures of the Covid-19 pandemic, now compounded by the food, energy, debt and currency crises triggered and exacerbated by the war in Ukraine, making education compete for the limited resources governments have available.” 

The letter comes as a youth-led campaign calling on world leaders to invest in children’s education continues to gain momentum. Theirworld’s 2,000 Global Youth Ambassadors (GYAs) have been driving #LetMeLearn, which has seen young people from more than 160 countries post videos and messages on social media demanding world leaders listen to the voices and experiences of youth.  

As part of #LetMeLearn, Theirworld and our GYAs have been calling on leaders at the summit to commit to three crucial actions to help end the global education crisis. Find out what they are. 

The open letter from the 100-plus world leaders proposes a “Global Compact” between developing countries and the developed economies that provide donor aid.  

Gordon Brown said: “To those countries out there refusing to fund education for all, I say this: no country can ever truly be rich if it is education-poor. No low-income country can become a high-income country without investing in education.   

“To the banks and governments concerned education investments will not pay off, I say this: show me an investment that offers a better return than an education.” 

Read the full letter 

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