The launch of the Education First Initiative, aimed at asserted new commitments towards the Millennium Development Goals on Education, secured over US$1.5 billionto see thatit is made a top global priority over the next three years.
Speaking at the launch last Wednesday 26th September, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said,"Our shared goals are simple. We want children to attend primary school and to progress toward higher education that will help them to succeed in life."


The Current Situation

At the end of the 1990s, 108 million children of primary school age were not enrolled in schools. That number has fallen to 61 million today, according to UNESCO’s forthcoming Global Monitoring Report. The gap between boy and girl enrolment has also been greatly reduced. These are obviouslysignificant achievements, largely due to national and international resolve to act on shared goals for education.
Despite these positive developments, in recent years there has been growing concern that progress has begun to slow down, which has also been indicated by recent statistics. Calculations have estimated that an additional $24 billion is needed annually to cover the shortfall for children out of primary and lower secondary school.
With the launch of this global partnership, Education First seeks to make a breakthrough to mobilize all partners - both traditional and new to achieve universal primary education ahead of the 2015 target date for the MDGs.




Commitments made at the launch
Australia, Bangladesh, South Africa, Timor-Leste and Denmark were among countries that pledged to intensify their support to the new global partnership called "˜Education First.’ In addition,the private sectormobilized over US$1.5 billion in new financing to ensure all children and young people have quality, relevant and transformative education.


In the next five years,the initiativewill focus on three priorities: putting every child in school, improving the quality of learning and fostering global citizenship.


"We must not deny the promise of quality education to any child. The stakes are too high. When we put education first, we can end wasted potential – and foresee stronger and better societies for all," Secretary-General BAN said.

Education First was launched on the margins of the 67th Session of the UN General Assembly. Participants included Heads of State and Ministers from countries, the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Global Education, Gordon Brown, heads of UN agencies, young people, civil society representatives and a number ofChief Executive of the private sector




Read more on the Education First Initiative.

Read more in a copy of the initiative's report, Education First - an initiative of the United Nations Secretary General.

Watch the launchagain on the UN Webcast.