Lazarowicz calls for education for all in Africa

Posted on 21/06/2014 by


Praise for local school’s ‘Send my sisters to school’ campaign


Edinburgh North and Leith MP Mark Lazarawicz has stressed the role of education in offering a better life for children in the world’s poorest countries.

Speaking during a Westminster debate in Africa, the MP referred to sub-Saharan Africa in particular but pointed to how young women are so often still denied even the chance of a primary education.

That’s a point highlighted to Mark recently by children from St Mary’s (Edinburgh) Primary School in East London Street, who delivered 300 cut-out figures the pupils had produced as part of the Send My Sister to School campaign.

Commenting after the debate, Mark said: “Education is a basic human right and yet the recent shock of the abduction of over 200 schoolgirls in Nigeria by extremists highlighted how girls and young women especially still so often fail to get the chance of finishing even primary school.

“I was really impressed by how the letters written by the children from St Mary’s Primary School showed a genuine desire for children whose lives are so different to have the same chance children here have to an education.

“There is a vital meeting next week to decide funding for the next four years of the international Global Partnership for Education initiative yet the UK Government has not yet said if a Minister will be attending.

“Education should be a right not a privilege for people in the world’s poorest countries as here but without funding we won’t move closer to making that a reality.”

Progress has been made: since 1999 the number of children out of school around the world has fallen by almost by half. Yet in many countries the goal of universal completion of even primary school remains far-off and inequality of opportunity remains deep-rooted between children from rich and poor backgrounds and also between girls and boys.

In Sub-Saharan Africa, 30 million primary-aged children are out of school – 22% of the region’s primary school age population. One in four girls don’t receive even a basic education and only about a quarter of those from the poorest households will complete primary school.

A meeting to decide funding over the next four years for the Global Partnership for Education programme takes place in Brussels on Thursday (26th June). There has been a decline in recent years in external aid for education so Mr Lazarowicz believes it is important that the UK Government gives a strong lead there.