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2010 Soccer World Cup Education Summit statement Pretoria, South Africa

Summit statement:

We, Heads of State and Government, and Eminent persons, gathered at the 2010 FIFA World Cup Education Summit on 11 July 2010 in Pretoria at the invitation of the Government of South Africa. We commend the initiative and efforts of the Government of South Africa to host this Summit during the 2010 FIFA World Cup. We seize the opportunity of the Summit to reiterate the commitment made by the international community at the World Education Forum (Dakar, 2000) to ensure quality basic education for all children, young people and adults by 2015.

We reaffirm that education is a fundamental human right enshrined in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Everyone is entitled to free primary education. As global leaders, we have the responsibility to equip all children, youth and adults with the knowledge and skills needed to improve their lives and fully participate in society. Education is a precondition for sustainable and human development and a catalyst for the realization of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). It is a driver for increased employment opportunities and livelihoods, women’s empowerment, improved maternal and child health, reduced chances of HIV/AIDS infection and greater environmental awareness and responsibility. No country has ever climbed the human development ladder without steady investment in education.

With only five years left before the 2015 target date, we are at a crucial turning point for the achievement of the Education For All (EFA) goals. Over the past decade, unprecedented progress in access to primary education, particularly in favour of girls, was made. Globally, an additional 42 million children have entered primary education since 2000, notably because of increased political leadership and national resources for education. However, progress has been too slow and formidable challenges remain. Some 72 million children are still denied their right to education and 759 million adults lack basic literacy skills. The efforts of the international community to expand primary education opportunities have often been made at the expense of education quality, of youth and adult education and literacy, as well as of other education goals. Evidence shows that deep and persistent inequalities are hindering progress across countries and populations, based on diverse and combined forms of marginalization such as income, gender, location, language and disability.

Based on current trends, we are likely to miss the EFA goals by 2015, including universal primary education (MDG2) and gender equality in education (MDG3). “Business as usual” will leave an estimated 56 million children out of school and 710 million adults without basic literacy skills in 2015. This is not acceptable and we call on the world community to give new impetus to education and scale up efforts to reach the MDG education targets. But getting more children into school is not sufficient. We have to make sure that students are leaving school with the necessary learning and life skills to enter adult life and the work force. It is time to refocus our efforts on the whole EFA agenda, with a particular emphasis on countries most-in-need. We must combat marginalization to ensure that the right to quality education is no longer a privilege for some, but a reality for all. To that end, we need to remove all barriers that prevent girls and boys, women and men across the world from accessing and completing quality basic education.

The strong gains made in education over the past ten years have been supported by sustained economic growth in developing countries. The aftermath of the recent financial turmoil and economic downturn is jeopardizing these advances and aggravating existing challenges, especially for the poor and underprivileged groups. The current global environment should not serve as a justification for reduced political and financial commitments to education. The estimated US$16 billion financing gap to reach basic education goals in low-income countries amounts to only a fraction of recent financial rescue packages. Collectively, we have the capacity to close the EFA global financing gap and improve the lives of millions of people worldwide.

Inspired by the massive support for the 1Goal Campaign, we urge the international community – especially national governments – to translate their commitment to education into concrete actions, including increased financial allocations. Forthcoming international events such as the UN Secretary General’s High-Level Plenary Meeting on the MDGs (New-York, 20-22 September 2010) and the next G-20 summit (South Korea, 11-12 November 2010) present unique opportunities to mobilize greater commitments to the benefits of education for humanity. The international community is accountable for their pledged commitments to defy the odds in reaching education goals by 2015. Let us join forces and scale up our efforts for education and a better life for all.

For enquiries please contact Spokesperson for the President, Vincent Magwenya, on +27 72 715 0024 and Chief Director for Public Diplomacy, Saul Kgomotso Molobi, on +27 12 351 1000, +27 82 940 1647 or e-mail him at

Issued by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation
Private Bag X152

11 July 2010


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