12 July 2010
Addressing heads of state during the “1Goal: Education for All” summit in Pretoria on Sunday, President Jacob Zuma said there was no greater legacy that hosting the 2010 Fifa World Cup™ could leave than that of education.
“The most important investment in the future of any nation is in education. No legacy can be higher than that,” he said.
The President told the summit that there were approximately 72-million children across the world who were not in school, with half of them in Africa.
Ensuring education funding
1Goal aims to help the millions who do not have access to education by ensuring that governments keep their promises related to education and provide the money needed to get every boy and girl to school by 2015, or by the next World Cup in Brazil in 2014.
Zuma urged the world leaders to renew their commitment to advancing the millennium Development Goals relating to education, which included giving every citizen in every society the benefit of an education.
World governments needed to redouble their efforts to ensure that the suffering of those most affected was not prolonged, he added.
Zuma called on African countries to focus on the basics, such as ensuring school fees and uniforms did not become a barrier to education.
“We have to fund feeding schemes to ensure that children are healthy and physically ready to study. We have to strengthen ties with community and non-governmental organisations, the religious sector and others to help us reach children in remote areas who are not attending school,” he said.
More teachers needed to be employed and trained, to improve the quality of learning and teaching, and more investments had to be made in programmes that kept children from dropping out of school, Zuma said.
Scoring ‘a bigger goal’
Other speakers at the summit also emphasised the need for the World Cup to leave behind a legacy that would impact on future generations.
Bafana Bafana captain Aaron Mokena told the heads of state that they had the opportunity to create the greatest legacy in one of the world’s biggest sporting event in history by giving children worldwide access to education.
“We have just seen the world’s greatest game celebrate its greatest tournament but now we have the chance to score a bigger goal,” he said.
Mokena said the world had failed to deliver on its promise to ensure that every child in the world had an education, and called on world governments to act quickly and decisively in providing children everywhere access to education.
The campaign would translate into giving hope to children and youngsters across the world and hope was what the youth of the world needed, he added.
Giving children opportunities
1Goal ambassador, 12-year-old Nthabiseng Tshabalala, asked the leaders to give the children of the world the same opportunities they had when they were younger.
“There are millions of children in Africa and around the world who can’t go to school. I think that our government and other governments should do everything they can to make sure that all children are allowed to get the education they need for their futures.
“As leaders, you had your opportunity to go to school. Please sure make that 72 million children get theirs,” she said.
Fifa president Sepp Blatter said some of the biggest names in world football including Pele, Zinedine Zidane and Ronaldo, as well as teams such as Manchester United and Barcelona had added support to the 1Goal campaign.
The African Union and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation also gave the campaign its support at the summit.