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Fighting Terror with Education Investments

The Global Partnership on Education (GPE) held a “replenishment summit” on June 25, where it asked donor countries to provide funding for another four years. By disbursing billions of dollars in donations from 20 countries toward educational programs in 50 developing nations, GPE has become one of the most influential global education organizations.

As the chairwoman of GPE, former Australian Prime Minister Julia Guillard has been advancing the message that “it is enlightened self-interest to invest in education.” Her argument ahead of the summit has been that whoever is interested in promoting economic growth and reducing extremism should start by building classrooms and training teachers.

“Ms. Guillard says the abductions of schoolgirls in Nigeria by Boko Haram militants should act as an alarm bell for the threat of extremism and also a catalyst for protecting education.” It is “the subject of such dedicated assault by terrorists and extremists shows the potency and importance of education in such communities,” she says.

However, skepticism is still in the air as to how much impact educational programs are having on reducing extremism and terrorist threats. Moreover, the question remains as to why industrialized nations should dedicate part of their budgets toward educating children in developing nations.

Guillard argues that organizations like GPE can really make a long-term difference and that it cannot be expected that change will happen overnight. Additionally, she asserts that it cannot be expected that donor countries and organizations like GPE bear all the weight of educating children in developing countries. It is imperative for recipient nations to step up their game, she says. This is not only about just allocating funding for the public schooling system. Guilliard states that each country should be an active participant in the development and implementation of the various educational programs.

In this realm, it can be said that the summit was a success. The $22.85 billion raised from donor nations also comes with a commitment by recipient nations to increase their own investment in public education.

While there have been many missed promises when it comes to global public education, one of them being the 2015 Millennium Development Goals, the latest GPE summit promised and delivered a new round of funding for public educations. Now it is about the implementation of adequate measures and programs.

Sahar Abi Hassan

Sources: BBC News 1, BBC News 2 Photo: VIP Properties