Education, government's number one priority - Zuma

Wednesday, June 9, 2010
By: 
Gabi Khumalo

Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma has called on world leaders to ensure that every child is in school by the next FIFA World Cup in 2014.

Speaking at the Sports for Peace Gala Dinner hosted by the Sports for Peace Foundation, together with the United Nations in South Africa, on Tuesday night, Zuma said education was a key weapon in government's arsenal of strategies to halve poverty and unemployment by 2014.

The purpose of the dinner was to promote the United Millenium Development Goal (MDG) 2, which is education.

According to the United Nations, 72 million children are not in school with the majority who are denied education being girls.

Zuma said South Africa was committed to the objectives and goals of utilising sport as a tool for development and peace.

"We believe sport can effectively contribute to the realisation of social and economic development, including the achievement of the MDGs," Zuma said.

He said the MDGs enhance the struggle for a just society, especially goal number 2, which centres on achieving universal primary education by 2015.

"With just days to go before the start of the tournament, it is indeed commendable that we have been brought together to promote access to education for all.

"Education is our government's number one priority and has consistently received the lion's share of the budget for a number of years," he said.

He added that government was committed to the global education initiative, adding that the country will on 7 July host the 1Goal education campaign summit on the sidelines of the semi finals of the World Cup in Cape Town.

During the summit, world leaders will draw up a roadmap to ensure that every child is in school by the next FIFA World Cup in Brazil in 2014.

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon described the World Cup as a dream come true adding that scoring a goal for humanity was important.

"The World cup is a symbol of South Africa's achievement and hope for all people of the world that they can realise their dreams- we have to hit the target of MDGs by 2015," Ban said adding that the World Cup can be used as a uniting power and can help developing countries.