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Government ministers and educationalists from around the world are meeting in Johannesburg seeking to tackle a major education crisis in Africa.

They will discuss why plans to give every child in Africa a place at primary school are falling so far short of that aim.

Ten years ago, governments worldwide promised there would be universal primary education by the year 2000 - that target has already been put back to 2015.

And in sub-Saharan Africa, it is estimated that 40m children are receiving no education at all - nearly half of all those of school age.

It is predicted that this figure could rise to 60m by the year 2015, as enrolment rates are falling.

Aid organisations are lobbying delegates at the meeting, calling on African governments to spend more on education and for the West to help them by easing their debt burden.


But finding the necessary money will be difficult.

image Many children have to work rather than attend school
It is predicted that Africa will need to double its spending on education and the developed world will need to more than match that amount in financial assistance to get every child into a classroom.

And those classrooms need to be properly equipped. In rural Tanzania, when children do go to school, 30 of them could be sharing a single textbook.

The British charity, Oxfam, says that if the money is not found, another generation of Africans will be trapped in illiteracy and poverty.

And BBC Johannesburg correspondent Jane Standley says that Africa risks being left behind as the global economy becomes increasingly based on skills and knowledge in the next century.

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