Gordon Brown on the 2016 GEM Report

"The main lesson of the 2016 Global Education Monitoring Report is that countries have got to reform, they've got to invest, there's got to be international solidarity to support countries who are making every effort but don't have the funds to do so," Gordon Brown said at the High-level roundtable event discussing the key findings of the GEM Report, on 23 September 2016, in New York.

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Transcript of Gordon Brown's speech

Today we have to recognize that 61 million children primary aged are not at school: higher than it was a few years ago. In the world, 263 million children of school age are out of school before the school year finished, and this will continue if we take a "business as usual" approach. In 2030, they will be more that 200 million children out of school. They will be 800 million - half the children of the world - leaving school, unable to meet the economic needs of the future because they don't even have secondary school level skills.

This is first of all a civil rights struggle, and I keep saying this, on behalf of the children of the world - people who are forced to child marriage, child labour, discriminated girls. But it is also an economic necessity that we educate the children of the world, because we are loosing out on the potential of millions of people, and they need to be equipped for a completely different global level market of the future.

The main lesson of the 2016 GEM Report  is that countries have got to reform, they've got to invest, there's got to be international solidarity to support countries who are making every effort but don't have the funds to do so, and we need to work together, all of us, to make it possible for us to deliver Sustainable Development Goal 4 with a proper funding by 2030. It is possible, if we make changes in the way we finance education.

One final point: the refugees and displaced persons are the people who are least well provided for. These are the most vulnerable in the world. And sadly, these are the children for whom we do least: there is no guaranteed funding for them, they cannot rely on a country giving them the money that is necessary for their education. We have to raise money for them specifically and it is urgent. Not just over the next few years, but over the next few weeks. We could get a hundred thousand children into school in Lebanon, in the next week, if we could raise the 50 million dollars necessary to pay for that.

These are the challenges that mean that education in emergency needs the support of every single country. We need to tell the world that every single child in the world - no matter who they are, where they are - must have the right to education. 

Photo gallery of the event