Burnham Copse Junior School launch My Friend needs a Teacher campaign
16 Jun 2006
Children from Burnham Copse Junior School
Children from Burnham Copse Junior School
Click for a full size picture
One of the classes at Burnham Copse Junior School in Tadley joined the Global Campaign for Education - known as My Friend needs a Teacher.

"Under their teacher Unity Speakman's leadership (next to Sir George in the picture), the class looked at the issues surrounding why 100 million children worldwide do not receive a proper education; and at what Governments should be doing about it."

"They gave me some letters for Tony Blair, and some life-sized cut-out teachers which they made as part of the project. We had an interesting discussion about how best to help - as well as a debate about how to discourage smoking."

"The children seemed genuinely concerned about the plight of their contemporaries in other parts of the world and wanted to help in any way they could. Some were thinking of becoming MP's. I comment the school for their intelligent approach to this subject."

This is the text of the letter Sir George sent the school

"I share your concern that 115m children are missing out on an education - and that some 40 million of these are disabled. Disabled children who miss out on an education are doubly disadvantaged. Their disability imposes limits on their life chances and earning potential. This initial disadvantage is exacerbated if they miss out on the skills and opportunities provided by an education. Their talent and abilities are wasted.

Moreover, education is of fundamental importance to wealth creation and poverty reduction. As well as expanding and improving opportunities for individuals, education equips populations with the skills necessary for development and growth. So I echo your call for concerted action to get more children - particularly disabled children - into school.

The primary responsibility for this lies with the governments of developing countries. The provision of education is a political choice. In all too many developing countries, governments prioritise things such as arms spending over education. And within education budgets, higher education for the elite is emphasised as the expense of basic education for the poor. So the British Government's role should be to support Governments who are genuinely committed to expanding access to education for the poor.

Delivering education in the developing world requires a varied and imaginative approach. In countries with good government, strengthening the state's capacity may work best. In others, the money will be more effectively spent through the charitable and private sectors. And in some countries, we need a project-based approach with donor funding for specific objectives.

But translating noble rhetoric into effective action on the ground means focusing on outputs as much as inputs. This has not happened in the past. If British taxpayers money is spent well, it has the potential to make a real difference, but only if we monitor continually the outputs, results and effectiveness. The issue that you raise addresses just one - albeit very important - issue in the complex, interlocking challenge of global poverty. The Conservative Party is committed to producing a comprehensive, ambitions policy programme on this issue. That is why we have established the Globalisation and Global Poverty Policy Group. It will look at a wide range of issues - aid, trade, conflict, wealth creation, governance and corruption - that impinge on international development policy. A central theme will be to examine how poor people and poor countries can take advantage of the opportunities provided by globalisation.

I recently wrote to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in response to a number of constituents who have written to me on the same subject. I will write to you again the moment I get a reply.

I would be happy to receive a ‘cut out teacher’ at a convenient time, and I have asked my constituency secretary, Lucinda Henzell-Thomas to contact you to see if we can find a mutually convenient date."






 
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