Brown urges action on "moral" issue of education

Other News Materials 21 April 2008 23:46 (UTC +04:00)

( dpa ) - British Prime Minister Gordon Brown on Monday urged world leaders to help get children in the developing world an education, calling it a "moral issue" that could also bring countries out of poverty.

"I want us to become the first generation in history to ensure that every child goes to school," Brown said in a conference call with World Bank President Robert Zoellick and Colombian singer Shakira, at the start of a global "action" week on education.

Brown said he raised education with US President George W Bush and the three presidential candidates during a recent trip to Washington and would make it an issue at upcoming summits with European leaders in June and the G8 industrial nations in July.

A set of UN-backed goals adopted in 2000 included a call for all children to receive primary school education by 2015, but the World Bank earlier this month said the target was unlikely to be met.

Zoellick warned that a surge in global food prices was putting extra pressure on those education goals in Africa and elsewhere. Young children were facing brain damage and other problems as a result of being malnourished.

"This danger is staring us in the face today," Zoellick said.

Food prices have jumped 83 per cent in the last three years, the World Bank said earlier this month, prompting riots and even bringing down a government in Haiti.