Saturday, September 27, 2008

British Archbishop launches education initiative

The Anglican Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, has launched an initiative to help achieve universal education during a session of the UN’s emergency summit on Millennium Development Goals.

The “Education For All” initiative is part of the Global Campaign for Education which seeks to provide free, compulsory public education, and to meet the third of the Millennium Development Goals: universal primary education.

Speaking in New York alongside British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and former US President Bill Clinton, Dr Sentamu said: “We are half way to the 2015 MDG targets and yet 75 million children remain out of school completely. Twice as many, mostly girls, go for a short while but then drop out.

"We may think we are making progress on education but the facts are that too many children around the world are receiving inadequate education and in many cases, no education at all.

"This is a scandal for many reasons. If we do not educate our children, what hope can there be for the future? But it is also a scandal because it shows just how wrong our priorities have become.”

Government leaders met in New York on Thursday for a special UN session to renew commitment meeting the Millennium Development Goals to halve global poverty by 2015.

Highlighting the urgent need for action the Archbishop said: “As citizens, and as children of God, we need to build a society where each individual can flourish and become the whole person they were created to be.

Dr Sentamu pointed to the Latin root of ‘education’ --- ‘educare’, which means to ‘draw out’.

"We need to draw out from every person in every country, the gifts and potential they possess. As Christians, as educators, as human beings, our calling is to help others to attain their full humanity – not to beat them in the race but to share with them the prize.”

Dr Sentamu also highlighted the work of the Edith Jackson Trust, one of the charities for which he is patron, and of their work to build primary schools in southern Sudan, where only 20 per cent of children enroll at primary school and less than two per cent complete their primary education.

"Girls in southern Sudan are more likely to die in pregnancy or childbirth than complete primary education," he said.

“Today we need to remember that we who have received the benefits of education have a responsibility to those who went before and those who come after us.

"That responsibility is to pass on the learning and discernment and wisdom, and to ensure all children are able to receive the benefits of that education.”
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(Source: RI)

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