Focus: Campaign of the week - Give us a teacher and an education

Indira Das-Gupta, indira.dasgupta@haynet.com

My Friend Needs a Teacher follows on from last year's successful Send My Friend to School campaign, which was organised by the Global Campaign for Education (GCE), a coalition of international development agencies and teaching unions that includes among its number Sight Savers International, Plan and VSO.

The 2005 campaign focused on the fact that 100 million children worldwide, mainly girls, are unable to attend school because they live in poverty.

This year the aim is to highlight the need for 15 million extra teachers worldwide in order to achieve education for everyone by 2015.

The campaign was launched with a visit to Mozambique by Chancellor Gordon Brown a fortnight ago, organised by ActionAid, Comic Relief and Oxfam.

A spokeswoman for ActionAid said: "While the outcomes of the G8 summit were quite positive, we want to try to keep up the pressure on the Government to ensure there is education for all by 2015.

"In order to do that we need 15 million teachers - teachers who are professionally qualified as well as properly motivated."

In Zambia there is an average of 64 pupils to each teacher and in Uganda 50 per cent of teachers have no formal training.

Pupils at the 7,000 schools that took part in last year's campaign have been sent packs to make 'teachers' - large cardboard puppets that are to be put together, decorated and then sent to 10 Downing Street. The GCE has also sent flyers to every school in the country to inform them about the campaign.

A spokeswoman for the GCE said: "We are asking rich countries to keep up the momentum on aid and debt cancellation to allow countries to expand their education systems."

Last year, pupils at the 7,000 schools that took part made 1.5 million cardboard 'buddies' to represent children missing out on an education.

Thousands were sent to Downing Street before the G8 summit and to New York for the UN summit to discuss the progress of the Millennium Development goals.

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