Education is one of the most important investments of our time
Reading, especially reading about history, is one of my favorite past times. It has helped me to learn about the world and figure out what role I wanted to play in it. Reading gave me knowledge, insights, ideas and hope and it nurtured a desire to do well and help others.
Sadly, 57 million children, most of them in the poorest countries of the world, are not in school and don’t know how to read or write. Without our help, almost half of them will probably never even enter a classroom. Over 200 million children leave primary school without basic literacy or numeracy skills, further denying them the opportunity to achieve their potential. These children will grow up with lower incomes, lower life expectancies and health outcomes. They are often more vulnerable to natural disasters, exploitation and abuse.
These children are deprived of the right to education, a right every child should be able to enjoy and take advantage of – just as I did. This is one of the reasons why I joined the Global Partnership for Education (GPE). At GPE we are working to increase access to quality basic education for millions of children.
Connect with Alice on Twitter: @AliceAlbright
The Global Partnership for Education provides essential finance to the poorest countries
The Global Partnership for Education is a dynamic alliance of governments, international organizations, civil society and the private sector working to ensure that every child is able to attain a quality basic education. The Global Partnership provides funding to support the development and implementation of multi-year education sector plans in the world’s poorest countries. We bring together development actors at the global and national levels in almost 60 countries to coordinate strategies that provide every child with the chance to learn in a safe, high-quality learning environment.
Since inception in 2002, the Global Partnership’s support has made it possible for an additional 23 million children to attend school. In GPE developing partner countries, the primary school completion rate rose from 56% to 71% between 2000 and 2010 and the number of out-of-school children fell from 34% to 18%.
These are good results and we are working hard with all of our partners to improve this trend even further and get every child in school and learning.
Our support in fragile countries
We recognize the danger both students and teachers face in conflict-affected areas, and have intensified efforts in these regions to ensure that children are not denied the opportunity for education because of their environment, like in Afghanistan.
Consequently, the Global Partnership’s model supports flexibility for engagement in fragile contexts, allowing GPE interventions to adapt to environments that have very limited capacity. In Yemen, for example, we recently made available $10 million in emergency funding to rebuild and rehabilitate classrooms. A similar response for emergency funding is underway for Somalia.
The imperative to invest in education
Having allocated over $3 billion in grant funding to strengthen and expand basic education in poor countries, the Global Partnership has become one of the most significant change-makers in global education – promoting equity and justice for all school children
All of our developing country partners are low-income countries; many of them are fragile or conflict-affected countries with very high numbers of out-of-school children. Despite the challenges they face, these governments realize that their future economic growth, political stability and national development depend on quality basic education.
Our GPE developing partner countries increased national allocations to education from 17% in 2000 to 19.4 % in 2011. While they are increasing their domestic education investments, we realize that this is not sufficient to ensure that the needs of the most vulnerable and marginalized communities are met. In 2013 alone, we expect funding requests from our developing country partners of approximately $ 1.3 billion.
The imperative for investment in education is clear and the demand for funding from the Global Partnership is unprecedented. Our developing country partners have recognized that the Global Partnership supports improvements in education systems that contribute to a nation’s self-sufficiency rather than providing temporary fixes to challenging problems.
The Global Partnership engages at the United Nations General Assembly
At the United Nations General Assembly in two weeks, the Global Partnership and its United Nations, national, civil society and private partners will launch its second replenishment to mobilize new funds for basic and lower secondary education through the GPE fund and bilateral funding. The campaign will culminate in a Pledging Conference hosted by the European Commission in Brussels in June 2014.
Let’s honor International Literacy Day
On the occasion of International Literacy Day, let’s remember the 57 million children that are denied access to school and are unable to enjoy reading a book. It is our mission to help these children and it is our job to raise the necessary resources. Education is an investment, not an expense. It is an investment for the future of our children that pays dividends for many generations.
Connect with me on Twitter @AliceAlbright where I’ll continue to discuss important issues such as literacy and the work we’re doing with partners to provide a quality education for all children.