Brazil’s Lula: “From Head to Toe’ Committed to Poverty and Education

    Speaking at a meeting on educational policy, president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva declared that his administration remains committed to the Millennium Goals, especially in the areas of education, hunger and misery.

    “We are committed from head to toe,” said Lula at the 4th High Level Group Meeting on Education For All, a government program run jointly with Unesco.


    According to a recent Unesco report on worldwide education, Brazil is close to achieving some Millennium Goals in the area of education.


    The goals were set at a World Forum on Education, in Dacca, in 2000, to be reached by the year 2015.


    However, the report points out that serious challenges remain, especially with regard to quality.


    In order to improve quality, Brazil has to reduce illiteracy and the number of students who fail grades.


    The Unesco report says that better educational quality requires more international investments, modern pedagogy, improved school facilities and combating corruption.


    The Goals of the Millenium are: elimination of hunger and extreme poverty; quality basic education for all; gender equality and protection of women’s rights; reduction of infant mortality.


    They also include improved health care for pregnant women; actions to combat Aids, malaria, and other diseases; environmental sustainability; and a global partnership for development.


    One year ago, the head of the Civilian Advisory Staff of the Presidency, Minister José Dirceu, explained to representatives of United Nations social assistance agencies the government’s plans to fulfill the “Goals of the Millenium,” set by the UN in accordance with 189 countries and aimed at the economic emancipation of these countries and conquests in the social area.


    Dirceu also stated that the government is committed to these goals and is working to fulfill them.


    “Each Ministry is evaluating the work that is being done in its area, and we have already asked the United Nations to help in this evaluation, to point out errors and inadequacies.”


    Among the goals set by the UN are the reduction of illiteracy and infant mortality; provision of better health and sanitary conditions for the population; erradication of child labor, elimination of slave labor, and improvements in housing, human rights, and public safety.


    At the time, Dirceu declared that increased revenues would allow the government to invest more in education, public safety, sanitation, and housing.


    “The unification of social programs will permit substantial savings, on the order of nearly 500 million reais (US$ 167 million),” he said.


    Agência Brasil
    Translator: Allen Bennett

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