Global Partnership for Education
The Global Partnership for Education (GPE) is currently holding a summit to support education in developing nations. More than 40 education development ministers and 600 official delegates are participating in the conference.
Political leaders, aid organizations and United Nations representatives hope to raise $3.5 billion in order to cover the costs of schooling for 29 million children in primary and lower-secondary school. To promote basic education for the world’s poor, the European Union has already promised a contribution of $510 million over the next seven years.
Achieving universal primary access to education is one of the eight Millennium Development Goals established by the UN in 2000. More children are in school around the world than ever before, but poor countries are still experiencing an education crisis. A new United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) report has revealed that 58 million children between six and 11 years old lack access to schooling, showing little overall improvement since 2007.
Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director-general, stated, “Combined with UNESCO’s recent news that aid to education has fallen yet again, the lack of progress in reducing out of school numbers confirms our fears–there is no chance whatsoever that countries will reach the goal of universal primary education by 2015.”
GPE released additional statistics that indicated the poor progress of global education; around the world, 250 million children are still unable to read or write by the fourth grade. To ensure that the international community remains focused on the issue, GPE has launched the Replenishment Pledging Conference, a second annual initiative benefiting the ongoing global education fund.
With the funding goal of $3.5 billion from 2015 to 2018, GPE plans to implement and achieve the following in 66 countries:
- Support the annual school cost of 29 million total children, 23 million of whom reside in fragile and conflict-affected areas.
- Decrease the number of children who fail to complete primary education.
- Help more girls complete primary and secondary school.
- Increase primary school completion from 74 percent in 2014 to 84 percent in 2018.
- Increase secondary school completion from 44 percent in 2014 to 54 percent in 2018.
- Improve core reading and numeracy skills by 25 percent.
- Reduce the rate of children dropping out from primary and lower secondary school by 10 percent.
- Reduce the rate of children repeating grade levels in primary and lower secondary school by 10 percent.
In conjunction with soliciting contributions from donor partners, GPE has urged developing country partners to increase domestic financing for education. All partners should also increase bilateral, multilateral and new innovative funding for poor countries.
Bokova insists that the international community “cannot meet this news with further inertia. On the contrary, we must sound the alarm and mobilize the political will to ensure that every child’s right to education is respected.”
Progress is possible, and several countries have experienced success in expanding access to education, including Burundi, Ghana, Vietnam, Morocco, Nepal and Nicaragua. By implementing proposals like abolishing school fees, planning relevant curricula, focusing on ethnic and linguistic minorities and providing financial support to deserving families, other countries could follow suit and help improve the current state of education around the world.
– Kristy Liao
Sources: BBC, Global Partnership for Education, The Guardian, New Age, UN
Photo: Global Solutions