I am happy to welcome you to this first Global Education for All meeting.
Two months ago, during the UN General Assembly, I launched Education First, a new initiative to push forward our education agenda. It was a great success, and I commend the leadership of Mme. Irina Bokova, the Director-General of UNESCO.
The priorities of Education First are simple. And these priorities are fully aligned with the Education for All goals.
First: Put every child in school.
Second: Improve the quality of learning.
And third: Foster global citizenship.
Education is widely recognized as a key to equitable and sustainable progress.
But there are just three years left until the 2015 deadline, and I am worried that we may miss our education targets in many countries. Progress has been slowing in many places. In some countries, we are even regressing.
We must reverse this trend. We need greater political and financial support if we are to reach our goals.
Education belongs at the top of the global agenda. Education First is mobilizing leaders and citizens to give education the attention and support it deserves. Your meeting can advance this important cause.
I have seen the power of education in my life, my country and our world. I urge all the world’s leaders to give priority to Education First in their national policies. I count on all of you to make education for all a reality – so that the people of today can build a safer and more sustainable tomorrow.