Abdou Diouf advocates education

technologies- chosen as the theme of the 11th summ-it of the International Organisation of the Francophonie (OIF) constitute a serious and exceptionally important issue, OIF secretary-general Abdou Diouf said Thursday in Bucharest, Romania.
"It is unthinkable to achieve sustainable peace, credible democracy, strong growth and development in our world without strengthening and modernising our education systems, especially those which, in our countries, face the most difficulties, delays and failures," Diouf said.
In his opening speech to the 11the OIF summit, the former president of Senegal insisted on the education of children in a world where 20 million of them, more than half of whom are girls and one-third live in sub-Saharan Africa, are out of school.
According to him, two out of five Francophone children are out of school and two others do not complete primary education.
"This situation is a tragedy for humanity.
It is unacceptable and dangerous.
It fosters inequality, exclusion and misunderstanding.
It threatens peace.
It is a terrible handicap in efforts to achieve the dialogue of civilisations and root democracy," Diouf added.
He called on Francophone countries to progress together for the future of children and humanity, adding that there is no more time to discuss the possibility of achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
To give children smile and hope, to give them all chances of success and a life of freedom, Diouf called for concrete action in the field, by increasing efforts and producing results to achieve the set objectives.
Concerning the digital divide, a focus of the 11th OIF summit, Diouf recalled that Francophone developing countries are the worst affected, which puts them in a weak position to benefit from the advantages of the information society.
"This is my first priority, it is what our organisation is working on, what our States and governments should focus on.
The OIF and Francophonie operators are united and committed to this effort, with all their tools, their networks, their skills," he noted, adding that the desire of the OIF is for education to serve peace, equality, and freedom.

28 september 2006 12:31:00

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