he Global Campaign for Education (GCE) brings together organizations in more than 150 countries to promote education as a basic human right and mobilize public pressure on governments to provide free basic education for all people. The U.S. Chapter of the GCE
is a coalition of more than 30 organizations, teachers unions, foundations and child advocates with these same goals.
To raise awareness of the need for universal basic education, the GCE is sponsoring the 2006 Send My Friend to School Week, which will run April 24-30. Individuals are encouraged to write letters to their newspapers and/or contact their political representatives to help spread the word about the need for free quality education for all children. Schoolchildren are also invited to create posters or cut-out “friends” with messages about the importance of education for all. See the GCE site
to learn how these posters can be mailed (to be received by April 17) so they may be considered for display on the GCE website or at Send My Friend to School Week events in Washington, D.C.
More than 100 million children around the world do not attend school. Another 150 million children will drop out before they finish primary school. One third of all children, and one in two in Africa, never complete five years of primary school—the minimum length of education needed to achieve basic literacy. Obstacles that keep so many children out of school include fees their families can’t afford, child labor, lack of basic school supplies and trained teachers, discrimination against girls and women, lack of access for children with disabilities, HIV/AIDS epidemics in Africa and parts of Asia, and on-going wars and civil strife.
While campaigns like this one for global education and World Water Day (see my March 21st post) may not coincide directly with tolerance initiatives, I believe they help eradicate discrimination by creating critical opportunities for improved quality of life for the poorest of the poor. Americans involved in organizations such as the GCE deserve support and encouragement as they strive to reach beyond U.S. borders to raise awareness of international issues. While increased awareness promotes understanding, public pressure on politicians to pay attention to the needs of the poorest among us can only help move our world, however slowly, to a place that’s better and safer—and much more tolerant. So check out the GCE site
and write a letter about the importance of free education for all. Then consider that without your own education, you’d be able to do neither of these simple tasks.