THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
(Johannesburg, South Africa)
March 28, 1998
INTERVIEW OF THE PRESIDENT
BY THE DISCOVERY CHANNEL
Johannesburg, South Africa
2:12 P.M. (L)
Q. Mr. President, I was in Uganda when you announced your Africaneducation initiative. It was very, very impressive. Is there a role forfoundation and the private sector in helping us?
THE PRESIDENT: Oh, absolutely. There's no way that just throughgovernment aid from the United States and other countries we can do allthis. And a lot of operations like the Discovery Channel can even moreefficiently hook up these schools, give them the basics that they need --atelevision set, a satellite, the VCRs. Then eventually we'll be able tocome in with the computers and we'll be able to have interactive access tothe Internet and even interactive communication across national lines.
But we have to begin to put in place a technological infrastructure inthese schools. And since we can now leapfrog a lot of the earlyinvestments that schools would have had to make 10 or 12 years ago, we canactually do it more cheaply. In other words, they won't have to have athousand volumes in their library that they could never afford, if we cando enough through educational television.
Q. You also talked about the relationship, in this case, between oneschool, I believe it's in Silver Spring, Maryland, and a school in Uganda.
THE PRESIDENT: That's right.
Q. Are there other things American kids can do to help here in Africain terms of education?
THE PRESIDENT: Oh, yes. First of all, I think it's important to setup as many partnerships as possible. And if the children have access tothe Internet in the African schools, if we can get that done, then they canactually communicate directly through the Internet.
But there are lots of other things we can do. If we have partnerships--children in American schools, for example, could have book drives andsend books to children --a lot of children in African schools don't haveaccess to any of the books that American kids take for granted. Then theycould write back and forth and talk about the books they're reading. Orthey could make sure they have a television and access to some of yourDiscovery tapes, and then they could write back and forth and talk aboutwhat they'd seen together. I think that this is the kind of thing that wewant to promote more of.
Q. Great. And the last question, Mr. President. I think a lot ofAmericans would be surprised that in many of the African countries boys aretreated differently than girls. Do you see a change coming there?
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, we're working hard to support that. But you seethis in a lot of developing nations around the world, where boys and girlshave a different role in traditional society and where girls have nottraditionally been educated . Now, as they move to a more modern society,young girls have the same aspirations --they want to develop their minds,they want to go out and live their lives. And we've worked very hard tosupport education for young girls.
One of the things I like best about the Ugandan educationalinitiative is that they want universal primary education for all theirchildren. And they're going out and recognizing the schools where theenrollment and the graduation rates are just as high for girls as for boys.
That's a big priority. But it's a big change for Africa, but Africais not alone in that. That's a worldwide issue we have to keep working on.
Q. Thank you very much, sir.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you.
2:15 P.M. (L)