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Brown in global education cash plea

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Gordon Brown

Gordon Brown

Gordon Brown

Gordon Brown has called on the world's richest countries to give billions of pounds a year to a new Global Education Fund to get millions of children into school in the poorest countries.

The former prime minister was launching a report warning of an "education emergency" in the developing world, which if left unchecked will undermine efforts to cut poverty and boost economic growth.

Mr Brown makes his return to the world economic stage as the International Monetary Fund is seeking a replacement for former head Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who quit after being arrested in the US on sex charges. The ex-premier is regarded as an outsider in the race for the IMF job, after PM David Cameron and Chancellor George Osborne made clear they would not back his candidacy.

Friday's report comes as Mr Brown launches a new High Level Panel on Education, featuring Nelson Mandela's wife Graca Machel, former UN secretary general Kofi Annan and Queen Rania of Jordan, which will meet for the first time in July.

Mr Brown's report - Education For All; Beating Poverty, Unlocking Prosperity - warns that the international community is "slipping backwards" on its millennium pledge to get all of the world's children into education by 2015, as 67 million remain out of primary school.

A renewed commitment to education would boost economic growth in the poorest countries by 2%, lift 104 million people out of poverty and save the lives of 1.8 million African children, the report estimates. Every pound spend on education has the potential to generate £10-£15 in growth.

It called for the wealthy countries of the G8 and G20 to: donate 3-4 billion US dollars (£1.8-£2.5 billion) a year to the new Global Education Fund; front-load aid to train teachers and build classrooms; link African schools to the information superhighway; and launch a campaign for a million new teachers.

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Mr Brown, who launched his report in South Africa on Friday and will present it to the G8 in France next week, said: "It is frankly intolerable that, at the end of the first decade of the 21st century, and in the midst of an increasingly knowledge-based global economy, millions of children are denied the right to a basic education.

"With Graca Machel and other prominent panel members, we will work hard to raise the issue right to the top of the international poverty agenda. Delivering on the promise to get all children into decent quality education by 2015 is not just a moral imperative, but also sound economics."

Summing up his appeal, he added: "You don't break promises to children."


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