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Girls’ education is a fundamental right, as well as a catalyst for economic growth and human development. Despite this, girls comprise two-thirds of the 125 million children across the world who are not in school. The World Education Forum in Dakar in April 2000 provides an opportunity to launch a concrete programme to deliver the internationally agreed target of achieving Universal Primary Education by 2015, and to close the gender gap in education. The British Government should provide the international leadership required to tackle the global education crisis, and to close the gender gap. This kind of leadership has been extremely effective on debt relief. The Prime Minister should take the lead in launching a global initiative aimed at mobilising $8 billion per annum in support of national education reform strategies with robust monitoring of progress towards Universal Primary Education, and the elimination of the gender gap in education.

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