Global Action Week For Education Archive

About GCE’s Global Action Week

Global Action Week is one of the major focal points for the education movement. It provides every national and regional education campaign with an opportunity to highlight one area of the Education For All agenda and make targeted efforts to achieve change on the ground, with the added support of education campaigners and millions of members of the public  worldwide joining together for the same cause.

2015: Global Action Week

The Right to Education 2000-2030 – Vote for Education!
In 2000, the world’s leaders made a series of promises intended to guarantee education for all by 2015. While significant progress has been made, it is clear that these promises will not be met.
This year, the world will agree new frameworks and governments will make a new set of promises. It is critical that civil society holds politicians accountable for the progress and failings of the last 15 years, demands that these promises are honoured, and has a say in what is being promised to make the right to education a reality by 2030.2015 provides us all with a unique opportunity to make a difference for decades to come, and GCE is committed to making the most of it. This is why we are asking politicians, representing their citizens at the World Education Forum in May and the UN General Assembly in September, to Vote for Education.
Global Action Week 2015 took place from 26 April to 2 May.

2014: Education and Disability: Equal Right, Equal Opportunity

An estimated 1 billion people live with a disability – comprising approximately 15% of the global population. It is estimated that 93 million of these are children – or 1 in 20 of those aged up to 14 years of age – living with a moderate or severe disability. In most low- and middle-income countries, children with disabilities are more likely to be out of school than any other group of children; even if they do attend school, children living with disabilities are often more likely to drop out and leave school early. In some countries, having a disability can more than double the chance of a child not being in school, compared to their non-disabled peers.

The rights of millions of children with disabilities are not being met, and it is vital that states take action to ensure that every child realises their equal right to participate in quality education, giving them an equal opportunity to participate in their communities, the workforce and more broadly in society.

GCE’s Global Action Week on Education and Disability took place from 4-10 May 2014.

2013: Every Child Needs a Teacher

61 million children are not in primary school The biggest thing we can do to give them their right to education is make sure they have access to a trained teacher. To do this, we need 1.7 million more teachers – 1 million more in Africa alone.
Every Child Needs a Teacher is a campaign led by the Global Campaign for Education to demand that states act now to ensure every child has well-trained and well-supported teacher. Read more or Go to Every Child Needs a Teacher site

In 2012 GCE focused on early childhood care and education (ECCE), with the ‘Rights from the Start’ campaign. Every child has the right to education, and these rights start from birth, but every year, over 200 million children under the age of five do not receive these rights, giving them less chance to achieve their potential and end the cycle of poverty. ECCE is Goal 1 of the EFA Goals, and much is still to be achieved in this area.

The campaign asked supporters to create a ‘Big Picture’ to show what a good early childhood experience should look like, and millions of images all over the world were drawn, photographed or created by children and adults alike. Over 4000 were submitted online at the Global Action Week website, with many more sent directly to the GCE offices.
The impact of the campaign at a national level is already being seen. In the Phillippines, the national coalition has established ongoing dialogue with the Department of Education on ECCE programmes targeting  marginalised, excluded and vulnerable groups through regional offfices and through the monitoring of the EFA Secretariat (composed of the Department for Education and E-Net Philippines). In Ghana, the Deputy Minister of Education pledged to ensure that the current ECCE policy is reviewed and implemented. The first step will be the development of an implementation plan. In Kenya there was an announcement for a proposed partnership to carry out advocacy on ECCE with the Parliamentary Committee on Education between UNICEF and the Elimu Yetu Coalition. In Somaliland a new government ECCE strategic document was unveiled during GAW. In Palestine, the Prime Minister attended the closing event of Global Action Week following a sustained campaign with over a million people participating nationwide.


On the global level, an exhibition of children’s drawings was created as part of the campaign, and this has so far been exhibited at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris and at the Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development in Berlin. Thousands of images were presented to the UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova, by school children from the Pierre Girard School in Paris, who gave a speech asking Heads of State to “keep their promises and encourage them to improve the lives of children in need… We must help all children grow up happy, for they become better adults!”

In 2011, Global Action Week targeted girls’ education with the ‘Make it Right‘ campaign. In 2005 the world missed the first target agreed within the framework for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs): to eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education by that year.

Disparity in enrolments between boys and girls has shrunk since 2000, but completition and progression rates remain shockingly low: in 47 out of 54 African countries, girls have less than a 50% chance of going to secondary school, and women and girls still make up the majority of adults and children who cannot read.




Global Action Week asked supporters to tell their stories about girls’ education, with thousands of schools taking part in this activity. A report was produced in partnership with GCE member Results, and a film was created on our behalf with GCE supporter 10×10.

2010’s Global Action Week took place from 19 -25 April, as part of GCE’s 1GOAL: Education For All campaign. 1GOAL brought together the power of football through the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa – the first ever held on African soil – and the cause of education to mobilise millions of members of the public.

The campaign asked people to sign their names to put pressure on governments to deliver the $16 billion a year that is needed to ensure that the 61 million children currently unable to go to school can receive an education.


1GOAL became the biggest campaign around a sporting event gathering almost 19 million signatures. Queen Rania of Jordan co-chaired the 1GOAL campaign, alongside FIFA President Sepp Blatter and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Celebrity supporters included Jessica Alba, Shakira, Bono, Kelly Rowland, Salma Hayek, Kevin Spacey, Mick Jagger, the football world and many more.

Global Action Week itself specifically focused on education financing in the wake of the economic meltdown. The week gained the attention of over 14 million campaigners of all ages around the world, and included politicians and celebrities teaching or being taught the 1GOAL: Lesson For All.

Download the Global Action Week 2010 Big Book in English

The 2009 Global Action Week focused on adult literacy and life-long learning and took place 20th–26th April. The week gained the attention of millions of campaigners of all ages around the world – and over 14 million people took part in reading stories and adding their names to the Big Read. The Big Read brought the support of many authors and big names for education and literacy for all.

A ‘Big Read Story Book’ was produced featuring stories by Paulo Coelho, Alice Walker, Desmond Tutu, Mary Robinson, Natalie Portman, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Ishmael Beah, and Dakota Blue Richards – all written for Global Action Week. Alongside the well-known authors there were inspirational stories given by children such as Devli Kumari – who was only given a chance to go to school after escaping force labour on a stone quarry, as well as numerous adult learners who had struggled to be given the chance to learn to read and write.

Download the Big Read Story Book in English | Français

Many of the authors also attended the highlight events to read their stories and lend their voice to the campaign. Queen Rania of Jordan was this year’s Global Action Week Honorary Chair, and led the way in events in Johannesburg and Washington, gaining maximum media coverage for the Big Read.

For the sixth time education campaigners around the globe came out in record numbers to commemorate Global Action Week. Since starting in 2003 the week has grown from two million people to a record 8.8 million people in 2008. During the week civil society, intergovernmental organizations and some governments unite at a national level in over 100
countries making one clarion call: education must be made available for all and that access must be matched with quality.

It has been universally accepted that education is a human right. Its quality should not be a privilege but a right as well and that is why the theme for 2008, Quality Education to End Exclusion reinforces the need for governments to increase funding to ensure that quality is a reality. Quality requires money. Quality should not only be a preserve of privately funded schools but the state/public school system which holds the bulk of learners. Quality education is in line with goal six of the Education for All goals.

In many countries, the call for Education for All has increased the number of students in class, but the teacher to student ratio is very unhealthy and it is impossible for teachers to manage such huge numbers of students in one class. There is still a lack of materials and many schools are in deplorable conditions not conducive for effective learning. With this in mind, it cannot be said that everyone needs a good education; not just an education.

Download the Global Action Week 2008 Big Book in English | Español | França

In 2007 Global Action Week focused on education as a human right. Over sixty years ago education was declared a basic human right for every person, and enshrined in the Universal Declaration on Human Rights in 1948. Since then, it has been reaffirmed in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966), the Conventional on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (1979) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989), among many other international human rights instruments. Yet it is a right that is being denied to almost 1 billion people right now.

From 23 – 29th April, campaigners all over the world united under the slogan “JOIN UP for Education Rights Now!” Various exciting activities took place with children, parents, teachers, policy makers and other campaigners making human chains surrounding historical, political and government buildings to signify their joint efforts in support of education. In Senegal and Gambia there was an unprecedented cross border initiative with people from both countries joining hands in support of education. Others made colourful paper chains which were then handed over to policy makers to remind them that 2007 was the midway point for the Education for All (EFA) goals; that at current rates of progress many countries will not meet these goals by 2115 let alone 2015. Many others Joined Up electronically by logging onto the JOIN UP website and sending a message to world leaders.

Download the Global Action Week 2007 Big Book in Englis | Español | Français

Every Child Needs a Teacher was the slogan under which campaigners across the globe united during the week 24-30th April. Children, parents, teachers and campaigners did everything possible to put the Case for Teachers to education officials and political leaders. They called upon governments and international institutions to enable the recruitment and retention of a professional well motivated workforce so that every child can be taught by a qualified teacher in a class no bigger than 40.


Three actions made up this year’s campaign for Every Child Needs a Teacher.

Stage 1: Creating Dossiers: Dossiers (files of evidence used in a legal cases) were created by children, campaigners, parents and teachers. The dossiers contained The Case for Teachers and comprised of stunning evidence in the form of pictures, stories, poems, plays and also hard hitting facts, the numbers of teachers still needed and their poor living and working conditions.

Stage 2: Officials ‘Back to School’: The dossiers were then discussed and handed to officials, political figures and celebrities at ‘Officials ‘Back to School” Days. This gave GCE campaigners an opportunity to highlight the reality of the situation facing learners and teachers. Officials were asked to respond to the content of the dossiers and report on
what they had done to keep previous years’ pledges.

Stage 3: The Big Hearing: Campaigners took officials and Heads of State to a mock ‘court’ – in the style of a legal hearing or public enquiry. Children and campaigners took over court rooms, government or official buildings and invited education officials, celebrities and the media, to teeth-clenching, headline-making trials in the case for teachers was presented; thus ensuring that teachers were put at the forefront of education agendas.

Download the Global Action Week 2006 Big Book in English | Español | Français

In 2005, GCE mobilised unprecedented public pressure on governments and the international community, demanding that they fulfil their obligations to provide free, quality education for all people and that they Educate to End Poverty. Around the globe, from 25-30 April, millions of campaigners, child rights activists and teachers took to the streets, descended on parliament buildings, and brought politicians back to school, carrying with them a distinctive tribute to the children around the world who are left behind by education systems.

The Send My Friend to School challenge invited global campaigners, old and young, to make a simple cardboard cut-out figure, each one representing a child out of school. Dubbed ‘friends’, these cut-outs were decorated with drawings and frequently enhanced with colours, beads, fabric and wool. On each, the maker wrote a message to world leaders, imploring, pleading and demanding that all children should have the chance to go to school. During Action Week, politicians were confronted by these cut-out ‘friends’ and asked to sign a pledge to take a specifi c action during 2005 to send these ‘friends’ – and all children – to school. And in many countries, ‘friends’ were collected together in huge numbers to deliver to important political events that aff ected the chances of children going to school.

Action Week saw politicians and officials flooding into school rooms where they were presented with ‘friends’ and saw the reality of life at the chalkface. Children voiced issues that adults fear to mention; in one rich country a boy asked, “Why do you spend so much on war when you could spend it on educating poor people?” In some countries they showed maps that highlighted those less lucky than themselves and questioned the lack of action to bring them all into the school gates. Over 3,000 parliamentarians and 25 Heads of State went back to school and many made pledges and promises to bring about change in education in their countries.

GCE campaigners didn’t stop there. A host of animated and attention-grabbing activities took place in capitals, towns and villages all across the world. Marches, rallies, debates and dramas all created an impact that will be felt for years to come. ‘Friends’ were adapted in each country – in the Philippines, they were made into kites and flown through the streets; in Bangladesh, the sails of small boats featured messages to “Send My Friend to School” and in Brazil, giant, life-sized ‘friends’ were designed like carnival puppets. In India, a protest marathon ran for education, and in Paris, 24 artists’ ‘friends’ were exhibited at UNESCO headquarters.

Download the Global Action Week Big Book in English

In 2004, children spoke out directly to politicians in face-to-face meetings, parliamentary debates and letters as part of the “World’s Biggest Ever Lobby”. More than 2 million people took part and 14 heads of state and dozens of ministers joined in. In some countries, children were able to take over the national legislature or parliament for the day, engaging lawmakers in hard-hitting discussions about what government must do to ensure that no one misses out on quality education.

In 2004, children spoke out directly to politicians in face-to-face meetings, parliamentary debates and letters as part of the “World’s Biggest Ever Lobby”. More than 2 million people took part and 14 heads of state and dozens of ministers joined in. In some countries, children were able to take over the national legislature or parliament for the day, engaging lawmakers in hard-hitting discussions about what government must do to ensure that no one misses out on quality education.


Related activities took place in state capitals, village halls and even in individual schools as thousands of parliamentarians, including two-thirds of all MPs in the UK, went “Back to School for a Day”. Children in the South backed their demands with concrete evidence, presenting politicians with ‘Missing Out Maps’ – diagrams pinpointing who in their community can’t go to school and why.

Hundreds of thousands of people around the world sent letters, cards and email messages to their countries’ presidents or prime ministers, asking them to “do more to make sure every child can go to school and get a quality education”. Civil society groups used creative methods to get their message to politicians, including plays, operas, human chains, symbolic balloting, and art shows.

Download the Global Action Week 2004 Big Book in English  | Download the Global Action Week 2004 Big Book in Español

Over 2 million people in 70 countries took part in the record-breaking “Girls’ Education: The Biggest Lesson”. Events held around the world were highlighted by the attendance of local and national celebrities and government officials. At UN headquarters in New York, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and Mrs Annan, and singer Angelique Kidjo teamed up to teach “The Biggest Lesson”, and in the Gambia, it was the VIPs’ turn to sit and listen as the daughter of a peanut-seller mounted the podium to teach the lesson. Such scenes were repeated around the world as vast numbers of children used their own voices to call attention to Education for All. Girls’ education was “ringing in the hearts and minds of millions of people”, said Hailu Sime, a participant from Ethiopia.