President Jacob Zuma has accepted an invitation from United Nations Secretary General (UNSG) Mr Ban ki Moon to serve in the UN SG’s Education First Initiative to achieve quality, relevant and inclusive education for all.
President Zuma has been invited by the Secretary-General to be one of the ten inaugural Member State Champions for the Education First Initiative. The champions will provide support to the UNSG in order to ensure strong visibility and the success of the Initiative.
The objectives of the Education First initiative are very similar to the objective that were espoused during the 2010 FIFA World Cup Education Summit which was hosted by President Zuma in Pretoria on 11 July 2010, on the margins of the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup. The objective of that summit was to reaffirm and demonstrate the international political commitment to provide quality basic education for all by 2015.
This commitment emanated from the internationally adopted Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which in the field of education seek to achieve universal primary education by the target date of 2015. The Summit also aimed to build on the momentum achieved through the global One Goal campaign, which succeeded in gathering millions of signatures and high-level support towards the goal of inspiring greater commitment and spending from global leaders for education, especially in the world’s poorest countries.
To achieve the goals of the Education First initiative the UNSG has approached ten Heads of State or Government to constitute a Group of Member State of Champions whose role will be to galvanise support for the Initiative amongst governments.
The initiative will be launched in New York today, 26 September.
“We are honoured by the invitation to serve in this important grouping. By participating in this Initiative South Africa will, in essence, be strategically positioned to ensure that education projects that may accrue from this Initiative cover and benefit countries in Southern Africa and the African region. Our government also regards education as an essential developmental tool hence education is one of the Government’s five primary priorities. We look forward to contributing to taking the focus on education a step higher on the global stage,” said President Zuma.