Gordon Brown: ‘Financing education has to be taken seriously’

The former UK prime minister spoke at an online event hosted by WISE

Former UK prime minister Gordon Brown has said financing education “has to be taken seriously” as it is impacting millions of children around the world.

He spoke at Education Disrupted, Education Reimagined Part II – a three-day online event hosted by the World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) ­– which wrapped up on 25 June.

The conference, organised by Qatar Foundation’s global education initiative has seen politicians, school leaders, TV personalities, teachers, social entrepreneurs and learners address the impact of Covid-19 on learning.

Brown said: “I harbor the aspiration that we will be in a world where we are developing the potential of all young people, but we also have to recognise that we have an education emergency impacting the life chances of millions of children around the world.

“We know that $180 a year is spent on the education of a sub-Saharan child, compared to $5-7,000 a year on a child in Western and other countries; that 70-80 percent of young people in countries like South Korea, Japan, and Singapore can go into some form of higher education, while in an African country it is less than five percent. It’s not just about what then happens to education systems – it’s about what happens to children and young people as human beings.”

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Financing education has to be taken seriously, because we cannot send teachers into classrooms without the resources they need – Gordon Brown

He said countries need to be reminded that education unlocks opportunities for employment.

“We must persuade them that not cutting education budgets is not just in the interests of education, it is in the interests of quality of life. Financing education has to be taken seriously, because we cannot send teachers into classrooms without the resources they need, and children into schools without the necessary backing.

“A human tragedy is unfolding if we do nothing and leave education completely underfunded, lacking the resources to enable children to flourish in the future.”

Brown said global cooperation is needed amongst those in education: “We know we have a challenge ahead, so let us work together to reimagine a new future and put pressure on to ensure the proper financing of education.”

For more information about the online event, visit: https://www.wise-qatar.org/education-disrupted-education-reimagined-part-2/

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