Kevin Brennan MP came in to school on Friday 22 June to speak to us all about this year's Campaign for Global Education.
With the Olympics taking place in July it was an Olympic theme - 'Going for Gold', in which World leaders are reminded of their commitment to get every child in school. Whilst they have been doing a great job getting an extra 50 million children in school. With 3 years to go there are still 67 million children who are not, and like any athelete we want to urge the leaders on, to get them to 'go for gold.'
The medals had been designed with messages and drawings by the children in May. The "Go for Gold" theme and idea of making a medal tied in nicely with the children's Olympic learning context. The children's work was then scanned in and reduced in size by volunteers. Some of the pupils used their amazing IT skills to add further slogans and logos in their own time. They paper medals were then cut out and stuck on to old can lids to make a medal. Recycled scrap material was sliced and used to make the ribbons, it did not cost the school anything other than photo copying, but underlines the sustainable development issues.
We are very lucky that Kevin a former teacher himself has supported the school in its work and is keen to listen to the children's views and encourage them to take an active role in their community. Kevin will take the medals to Secretary of State for International Development (DFID) where they will join the medals made in other schools across the UK.
At Millbank we do a lot of work on Human and Child Rights, on Fairtrade, Climate Change and sustainability, mainly because they are not completely separate issues, they are very inter realated. The current economic recession and climate change has meant that many more children have had to be withdrawn from education to work to help earn enough for their families to survive in the short term. But the long term opportunities that education can give these families will be denied them and they could be trapped in a cycle of under achievement and depravation. We would love to live in a world of 7 Billion people working together to tackle and overcome the world's problems.Education is a basic Human Right (article 26 of the Declaration of Human Rights) and one of the Children's Rights (article 28 of the UNCRC) and it's obviously key to learning about and understanding the rest of your rights. As the year 2000 approached the world leaders got together and thought about how they could work together to make a better world and they came up with 8 targets known as the MILLENIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS (or MDGs) that they would look at. These were:-
1. Eradicating extreme poverty and hunger,
2. Achieving universal primary education,
3. Promoting gender equality and empowering women,
4. Reducing child mortality rates,
5. Improving maternal health,
6. Combating HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases,
7. Ensuring environmental sustainability, and
8. Developing a global partnership for development.
They set a date of 2015 by which time all of these could be achieved. Many groups and organisations have been set up and help promote these. TheCampaign for Global Education is the umbrella organisation obviously for education, and Send My Friend is the UK arm which includes groups like ACTIONA AID and our friends at SAVE THE CHILDREN. UNESCO started the Literacy decade with the slogan "Literacy is Power."
Of course none of the pupils in any primary school were even born thenEvery year since 2005 they've organised a different campaign, we are very proud to have been involved from the start. In fact in promoting the Right to Education the school has become increasingly interested in Rights and Millbank is now working towards becoming the first UNICEF 'Rights Respecting School' in Cardiff. (We are already the first UNESCO associated school). The pupils have a real enthusiasm for the UNCRC and Fairtrade.
It is a fact globally that children of parents who have been to school are more likely to be sent to school themselves. Here in the UK our own community it is a great reminder of the importance of regular attendance and hard work to get the most out of the amazing opportunities available to them.
It also encourages children to take a more active part in our society. The children have worked with our neighbours at Trelai Primary to provide a water tank at the AMAF school in Nairobi to help the children their have a regular supply of clean water. They collected pens and pencils to be taken out, these are only small steps in a huge problem. But they are practical steps and they have already made a difference to help others. Alone they cannot change the world but the important thing is that they try.