1 billion will not receive education

DAKAR - Close to one billion people will never receive a formal education because governments throughout the world are not living up to pledges to provide free primary schooling for all by 2015, aid groups said yesterday.

At a meeting in Dakar in 2000, governments from 164 countries agreed on goals including the provision of good quality, free primary education for all and a 50percent improvement in adult literacy by the next decade.

Half way to that deadline, the world's richest nations are failing to live up to pledges to help the poorest and the goals remain elusive, according to the Global Campaign for Education (GCE), a grouping of teachers' unions and civil society groups.

"At current performance rates, close to a billion people won't receive education in their lifetime, let alone in the next seven years," said Nelida Cespedes, a GCE board member.

Universal primary education by 2015 is also one of the eight UN millennium development goals agreed by governments.

The group said in a report that 72million children were still not attending school and that 774million adults - or one in five - were illiterate. Though many were in Africa, the study said African governments had made marked improvements in providing schooling. - Reuters