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1GOAL Summit

Oral Answers to Questions — International Development – in the House of Commons at 11:30 am on 7th July 2010.

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Photo of Luciana Berger Luciana Berger Labour, Liverpool, Wavertree

What support his Department has provided to the 1GOAL Education for All summit on 7 July 2010 in South Africa.

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Photo of Stephen O'Brien Stephen O'Brien The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Development

DFID has given the 1GOAL campaign £804,800 so far and will give a further £195,200 this financial year. In addition, DFID offered support to the Government of South Africa for a summit during this World cup, and we have received an invitation to that summit this very morning. It will take place this Sunday and we are considering who should attend.

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Photo of Luciana Berger Luciana Berger Labour, Liverpool, Wavertree

I am grateful to the Minister for his reply. There have been a great many goals in this World cup, but signing up to a road map to deliver education to 72 million children around the world by the next World cup could be the greatest goal. How will he ensure that the momentum of today's education campaign summit is not lost between now and Brazil 2014?

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Photo of Stephen O'Brien Stephen O'Brien The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Development

I am grateful to the hon. Lady for her excellent question. She, like all hon. Members across the House and particularly Her Majesty's Government through DFID, is passionate about the need to boost education, particularly for the millions who have yet to receive the benefit of a primary education. There are few bigger prizes to grasp, and she is right to say that we need to maintain the momentum of the 1GOAL campaign, which we have been very pleased to support. The summit that is about to take place should help to boost that momentum and we shall do all we can to help to maintain it.

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Photo of Iain Stewart Iain Stewart Conservative, Milton Keynes South

Will the Minister join me in congratulating the pupils and staff of Eaton Mill primary school in my constituency, who, like those in many schools up and down the country, have made an enormous effort to raise awareness of the 1GOAL project and the aims of improving education throughout Africa?

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Photo of Stephen O'Brien Stephen O'Brien The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Development

I am delighted to join my hon. Friend in congratulating the school in his constituency that has so eagerly taken part in this campaign. About 8,000 schools in the United Kingdom have asked for supporter packs from the 1GOAL campaign, so it has had a real impact. There have also been lesson plans and other activities for schoolchildren and I dare say that many Members across the House have had similar experiences to my hon. Friend. That is a measure of the impact and success of the campaign to date.

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Photo of Douglas Alexander Douglas Alexander Shadow Secretary of State for International Development

I welcome the Minister's support for the 1GOAL summit, and I hope that he or one of his ministerial colleagues will accept the invitation that has been extended to the ministerial team. The Secretary of State has repeatedly told the House in recent weeks that he is focused on outcomes, so will the Minister tell me what steps, if any, he will take in the coming weeks and months to help to finance the removal of school fees, for how many children and in which countries?

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Photo of Stephen O'Brien Stephen O'Brien The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Development

As part of the broad attempt to ensure that the millennium development goals are met, we are keen to do everything we can to boost access to education. What matters is what works, and we need to push very hard in a number of countries through programmes to ensure if we can that user fees are removed. In some areas vouchers could be used, but the main thing is to focus on what works and we are certainly focused on that.

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Photo of Douglas Alexander Douglas Alexander Shadow Secretary of State for International Development

I note the lack of detail in the Minister's response and that he mentions vouchers. Does he still intend to implement his plans for voucher schemes, which were described by the director of UNESCO's global monitoring report on education as

"using vulnerable people to advance an ideologically loaded, market-based vision for education, which would exclude millions of kids from school"?

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Photo of Stephen O'Brien Stephen O'Brien The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Development

I am only interested in what works, and of course the precise detail will come out of the bilateral aid review that we are undertaking, of which the right hon. Gentleman is aware. Of course we will be happy to try to ensure that we learn the lessons of the experience for which he was responsible as regards the use of vouchers, particularly in relation to maternal health in south-east Asia.

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