Education summit to tackle challenges in Africa

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Johannesburg - FIFA hopes to use an education summit organised by President Jacob Zuma next week to gather support for its '1 Goal education for all' campaign.

Zuma has called the global education summit to tackle education challenges in Africa at the time the attention of the entire world is on South Africa. 1 Goal is a coalition of 100 organisations from 100 countries established last year to raise awareness about the millions of children who are not in school. The initiative, chaired by Queen Rania of Jordan, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and FIFA President Sepp Blatter, aims to get all children across the world to school by 2015.

Director of the campaign Owain James says 1 Goal had already attracted more than 12 million signatories and has the support of many international players. "We are delighted that president Zuma has shown his support for this and called this summit, we see this as a strong opportunity to bring together politicians and the soccer family to tackle this very important issue of education," James said on Saturday.

"The summit will afford the world's leaders a critical opportunity to highlight challenges and accelerate achievements in the global education sector and we are delighted it taking place at the time South Africa is organising its first FIFA World Cup," he said.

Former Manchester United striker Quinton Fortune, Bafana Bafana Captain Aaron Mokoena and Brazilian football legend Pele, are just some of the stars behind the 1 Goal campaign. It also enjoys the support of more than 60 football clubs including Barcelona, Manchester United and Inter Milan.

Fortune, who also had a stint in the Bafana squad, said he was very honoured to be part of the campaign. "We have so many difficulties that we need to overcome and I believe through education we can overcome all those challenges. I was very blessed to have studied and got my education in England and I hope every child can be able to get that chance and not just only from the African continent," Fortune said.

An estimated 72 million children around the world are said to have no access to quality basic education - more than half of them are girls. Zuma's summit is scheduled to take place on the last day of the World Cup on 11 July and several heads of state have been invited to attend.