Over eight weeks, RESULTS affiliates in the UK, Australia, Canada and the U.S. will delve deeper into 8 key reasons to invest in the Global Partnership for Education now more than ever. Today, Dan Jones, Campaigns Manager at RESULTS UK, looks into REASON #2.
“Everyone has the right to education”
– Article 26, The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
This week, we look more closely into Reason #2 of the eight reasons from our joint RESULTS report “Greater Impact through Partnership: 8 reasons to invest in the Global Partnership for Education now more than ever”.
This reason is close to the hearts of everyone who campaigns with RESULTS around the world, because it is about reaching the most marginalised and vulnerable people in our world.
Education is fundamental to ending poverty and to tackling the inequalities that leave some children behind, unable to fulfil their right to education. Put simply, the world cannot achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) without ensuring education for all, including the most marginalised people.
Dramatic progress has been made in expanding access to primary education. For example, since 1999 the number of children out of school around the world has fallen almost by half. We should be proud of the part our Governments, as major donors to education, have played in that. Yet despite progress, 57 million children of primary age remain out of school around the world. The UN recently reported that 250 million children are failing to learn even the basics of reading and writing – a “global learning crisis”.
It is clear that marginalised children, particularly girls, those living in conflict-affected and fragile states, and children with disabilities, make up a very large proportion of the children either out of school or receiving such poor quality education that they are unable to learn.
The Global Partnership for Education specifically prioritises these children and aims to support them to receive a quality basic education. Nearly three-quarters of the world’s 57 million primary-school-aged children who are out of school live in GPE’s partner developing countries. Of the 250 million children estimated by UNESCO to either not be reaching grade 4 or reaching grade 4 without mastering minimum levels of learning, 100 million (40%) of them are in GPE countries.
Children in conflict-affected countries are estimated to make up half of the world’s out of school children. Yet despite general agreement of the importance of reaching these children, only 1.4% of global humanitarian assistance was allocated to education in 2012. That’s why the Global Partnership for Education has such a crucial role in these difficult circumstances. As one tangible example, on our most recent RESULTS UK grassroots conference call, our speaker was Chernor Bah, a former refugee from war-torn Sierra Leone and now a powerful advocate for education. Chernor told us about the vital role GPE has played in helping the people and government of Sierra Leone to re-build their education system from the rubble of the civil war. More recently, as the world has just begun to pay attention to the violence in the Central African Republic (CAR), the Global Partnership were among the first to respond, allocating US$3.7 million in accelerated funding to support an emergency education plan and restore education for nearly 120,000 children in the most conflict-affected areas.
The GPE strives to ensure that the humanitarian community works in a coordinated way, assisting national governments to establish emergency education plans that help countries recover from war or natural disaster. 61% of GPE funds have gone to conflict affected and fragile states, higher than most other donors. If the GPE’s replenishment this year is successful, then 23 million of the 29 million children that they will support from 2015-2018 will live in fragile and conflict states.
Girls’ education is another headline priority for the Global Partnership for Education. Girls are still more likely than boys to be out of school, and yet the evidence clearly shows that educating girls and women is a bedrock for development. An educated girl is less likely to marry and to have children whilst she is still a child; more likely to be literate, healthy and survive into adulthood; and more likely to reinvest her income back into her family, community and country. Since 2003, GPE has helped to get nearly 10 million girls in school, and 28 GPE countries have achieved equal numbers of girls and boys completing primary school. I met with the Minister of Education from Afghanistan earlier this year, and he had powerful words to say about the GPE’s work in that fragile country. Top of his list was GPE’s funding to support the recruitment and training of female teachers in hard-to-reach regions, and the impact that was having in encouraging girls to return to school.
Children with disabilities are perhaps the most invisible, and marginalised, group of children of all. Data about this group at the global level is so poor it is hard to know how many are in, or out, of school, but for example, in Nepal it is estimated that 85% of out of school children are those with disabilities. RESULTS grassroots advocates have campaigned passionately for greater support to these children. Here, again, the Global Partnership for Education is playing a key role. Working closely with key donor governments represented on its Board of Directors, like the UK and Australia, the GPE has committed to ensure that more of their country partners improve access and learning outcomes for children with disabilities. By 2018, GPE has said that it aims for 80% of its developing country partners to have explicit policy and legislation on education for people with disabilities.
It is clear that investing in the Global Partnership for Education is a crucial way for donors to ensure that they are reaching those children in the greatest need. Investing through GPE also complements and multiplies the reach and influence of each individual donor’s efforts, ensuring that more of the most marginalised children are supported.
But as our report makes clear, the GPE can only have this vital impact if donor countries like the UK, U.S., Canada and Australia step up in June and make ambitious pledges to ensure that the Global Partnership for Education’s four-year replenishment target of US$3.5 billion is met. With that money, the GPE can support 29 million children to receive a good quality education. With that money, the world can demonstrate its commitment to ending poverty and to a vision of prosperity for all that ‘leaves no-one behind’. With that money, there is real hope of a future where every child, no matter what their circumstances or where they are born, can have the future they deserve.
Don’t forget to check back here next week for REASON #3!
Click here to read the full RESULTS report “Greater Impact through Partnership: 8 reasons to invest in the Global Partnership for Education now more than ever”.