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"....essential learning tools (such as literacy, oral expression, numeracy and problem solving) and the basic learning content (knowledge, skills, values and attitudes) required by human beings to be able to survive, to develop their full capacities, to live and work in dignity, to participate fully in development, to improve the quality of their lives, to make informed decisions and to continue learning" -- (World Declaration on Education for All 1990).
Nearly one quarter of the world's population live in extreme poverty, on less than the equivalent of US$ 1 per day. 70% of these people are women. 39% of the 1.3 billion people live in South Asia, 34% in East Asia and the Pacific and 17% in Africa. For the poorest one fifth of the world's population, their share of the worlds income fell from 2.3% to 1.4% in the 30 years from 1960 (Source: Learning Opportunities for All).
In the year 2000, 189 leaders from around the world met at the historic Millenium Summit in New York and came up with The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) proposal. The MDG target is to ensure that by 2015, children everywhere, boys and girls alike, will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling.
According to the then Secretary-General of the UN, Kofi Annan, the UNs role for the next millenium will be crucial; making it a focal point for joint efforts in a world that presents worrisome statistics that endanger the perpetuation of generations to come.
• 1.2 billion people live with less than US$1.00 per day.
• 800 million people are malnourished.
• 153 million children are below their ideal weight.
• 115 million children are not enrolled in school.
• 97% of these children are in developing countries.
• 64% of the worlds illiterate population are women.
• 80% of the worlds refugee population are women.
• 60% of children not enrolled in primary school are women.
Besides inadequate access to such basic essentials as personal and community security, food, health and assured basic income, poor people are deprived of adequate educational opportunities for themselves and for their children. It is estimated that over 900 million adults are illiterate; two thirds of whom are women.
Poverty is a substantive barrier to sustainable development. It limits the potential for economic growth and denies many people the opportunity to acquire knowledge and skills to enable them to participate fully in the social, economic and cultural life of their communities.