Could the World Cup's Legacy Be Universal Education?

The World Cup is over, but South African President Jacob Zuma doesn't want all the eyes that were trained on Africa to suddenly avert their gaze. He wants to use the first Cup held on African soil as a fulcrum for a push to bring universal education to his country, the entirety of his continent, and the rest of the developing world.

Just prior to yesterday's final between Spain and the Netherlands, Zuma held a summit for African leaders to stress the importance of universal primary school education—which was one of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals to be completed by 2015. Zuma's campaign is being aided by an organization called 1GOAL, which is financed by FIFA, the governing body of world soccer.

According to an article in the Financial Times, "1GOAL is calling on poor countries to increase their spending on education to 20 per cent of their national budget and has urged African leaders to prepare a road map to ensure that all African children enjoy the benefits of an education by 2014."

In April, India instituted a law requiring compulsory primary education for all the children in the country. Whether that law will lead to all of those kids attending school is another matter altogether.

1GOAL's request comes at a time when the world's economies are being battered by a recession, which, according to UNESCO, has put the goal of getting children all over the world a primary education in peril.

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