If anyone has reached the hearts of all men, no matter their race, religion or culture, it is Nelson Mandela.
Among his many wise statements, this one has long stuck in my mind:
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
I’m sure we all have inspiring stories to support that belief.
A few statistics tell us that 61 million children are not in education and that 40 million of these live in poor and conflict areas in Africa.
Here, the child of a literate mother has a 50 per cent better chance of survival.
Uneducated mothers have on an average seven children, but even with just limited education only three children.
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If more women were educated, Changing
HIV would decrease and famine would be outperformed by food aid,
yet two in three women in the world are illiterate.
Statistics clearly indicate that educated people are less likely to be in conflict and more likely to live in peace and democracy.
And the really scary thing is that the poorer the country, the higher the cost of education to an individual!
Yet UNESCO, which once aimed to have all the world’s children in education by 2015,
recently provided data to show that progress in reducing the number of children out of school has
come to a virtual standstill for the first time since 2002.
This lack of progress coincides with significant cuts in aid to basic education – this fell
by 6 per cent between 2010 and 2011 when six of the top ten donors to education reduced their spending.
The changing donor landscape now sees the UK as the largest bilateral donor to basic education, replacing the USA.
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