Matarr Baldeh / Maria Khan

The Global Campaign for Education (GCE) organises Global Action Weeks every April. It is a moment in which children, teachers, parents and people around the world unite in their demands for education. Last year the campaign was The Big Read, in which 14 million people took part. Matarr Baldeh coordinator of EFANET in Gambia and GCE Board member, and Maria Kahn, Director of the Asia South Pacific Association for Basic and Adult Education and also GCE Board member present an important statement.

Global Action Week Presentation

Honourable Ministers, Director General, and esteemed guests, thank you for the opportunity to participate in this opening ceremony of CONFINTEA VI.

It is an honour to be here today to share with you the wishes and concerns of the 14 million people who participated in Global Action Week 2009, titled The Big Read, Literacy and Learning for All.

From 23rd to 29th April this year, campaigners, adult learners, authors, moral leaders and the Adult Education community joined together to demand action on youth and Adult Education and literacy. We enjoyed the support of Nelson Mandela, Queen Rania of Jordan, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Alice Walker, and Paulo Coelho.

The Big Read was celebrated in over 120 countries with campaigners reading and writing stories, which were presented to policy-makers to draw attention to the global deficit in literacy and learning.

Our mobilisation demanded that the neglect of this sector must be reversed. It is a scandal that almost 800 million adults, the majority of them women, will wake up tomorrow unable to read and write. These people are unable to earn a living, cannot access health services, and are excluded from participation in society and democracy.

In support of their struggle to learn, we present you with this folder, which contains a representation of the names of 14m campaigners who signed the Big Read, together with a copy of the Big Read and the Big Book, our record of the campaign in 2009.

We are now preparing Global Action Week 2010 – 1GOAL, Education For All. Through this unique partnership with FIFA for the World Cup 2010, we will mobilise unprecedented public concern and political will about EFA. We have already signed up world-famous footballers such as Zinedine Zedane and Rio Ferdinand. With their bakcing, we will sign up 30 million supporters to demand action on financing of EFA in 2010.


Now, over to Maria….

Maria Khan

Thank you. I want to share civil society’s recommendations to CONFINTEA. I have just come from FISC, a unique gathering of education practitioners and activists from all over the world. FISC recommended that:

Adult Education should be inclusive and diverse, spanning all areas of human activity. It requires inter-sectoral and inter-ministerial action and leadership from Ministries of Education or their equivalent. There should be no more collection of data or statistics based on a false line between illiteracy and literacy.

Adult Education should be a justiciable human right. All governments should develop costed policies, targeted plans and legislation for addressing adult literacy and Lifelong Learning by 2012.

CONFINTEA VI should agree a binding minimum target of at least 6 % of national education budgets on Adult Education. All employers should invest at least 1 % of the payroll in work-related education and training.

The donor community should give 6 % of aid to education, to adult literacy and education.

The EFA Fast Track Initiative should be transformed into a Global Initiative on Education For All, which prompts action and investment in adult literacy and education.

There should be a comprehensive approach to benchmarking and monitoring of CONFINTEA commitments with a global monitoring report every three years.

Governments should recognise that civil society and learners have a crucial role to play in policy dialogue on adult learning policy and practice and in monitoring.

We are ready to play our part, but we expect governments to lead the way in ensuring an end to illiteracy and ignorance, not in the distant future, but for this generation. In the name of FISC, and 14m campaigners in every part of the globe, this is our call.