WORLD LEADERS unite in $2 billion drive to tackle ''global learning crisis.''

LOW INCOME - countries have increased their commitment to tackling a ''global learning crisis'' as world leaders promised to spend $2.3 billion on education over the next three years.

A host of dignitaries, including six Africans head of state and the singer Rihanna, descended on Dakar to attend a high-level financing conference in Senegal.

But pledges fell far short of the $3 billion [Pound 2.1 billion] that the Global Partnership for Education had hoped for following a warning by the World Bank-

That more than 260 million children  worldwide are out of school and that half of those in school were not learning.

The Senegalese president, Macky Sall, hosting the conference, pledges $2 million, making the west African nation the first recipient country to contribute to the fund.

''If Senegal with its limited needs, can mobilise that fund amount over three years, I bet that the  international community can leverage that number and more to fund education,'' Sall said.

CHINA, which is heavily invested in Africa, sent a representative who stood up in a pledging session and promised nothing.

In all donors pledged $2.3 billion, with the EU, UK, Norway, France and Denmark leading the efforts. The total represents a significant increase on the $1.3 billion pledged in 2015.

Meanwhile 53 developing countries pledged to spend $110 billion on their own education systems over the next two years,

''We did more than just talk about it,''  Justin Trudeau posted pointedly on Twitter after doubling Canada's contribution to $180 million over three years.

France which pledged just $1 million in 2015, promised 200 million this time round. Macron, who was co-hosting the conference, quote Victor Hugo : ''To open a school is to close a prison   -we want to close lots of prisons.''

But Britain was criticised for failing to increase funding after making a pledge of Pound 225 million over the next three years.

''Others need to lean in,'' said Penny Morduant, the International Development secretary. The Global Partnership had called on the UK to pledge Pound 381 million  -Pound 81 million more than in 2014-

To help tackle what Department for International Development has called a ''global learning crisis''.

The World Students Society will be watching all future developments with great care and concern.


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