Big Win as $28 Billion Pledged to Get Children into School
BRUSSELS - World donors today pledged billions of dollars to support education for all children.
Nations including UK, Norway, Sweden, and Denmark teamed up with governments of the world’s poorest nations and private sector donors to pledge a total of $28 billion to the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) fund, a pooled fund that supports public education in developing countries.
Some of the poorest countries in Africa, Asia, and South America have pledged to increase their domestic spend on education by 25% to $26 billion, far exceeding the $16bn target that GPE set.
Meanwhile, other nations have pledged $2.1 billion to the fund, leaving a deficit of only $1.4 billion to achieve the target.
Global children’s rights charity Plan International, which implements education programs in 50 countries, pledged E402m to the fund. CEO of Plan International Nigel Chapman said that Plan’s commitment will focus on basic education over the next four years.
“The majority of the investment will go towards programs targeting girls, with the remainder focusing on the needs of all children. A significant contribution will be made for measures to make education accessible and safer for girls, such as those affected by early marriage or who experience violence simply for wanting to go to school.
"Funds will also be spent on improving quality of education, such as teacher training and providing accountability to parents and children for quality education."
The outcome of the conference is a big win for education, with developing countries really stepping up their commitment to universal schooling. “It has been great to see developing countries showing such leadership, with some really exciting and important increases in domestic education funding, and there has also been some brilliant donor pledging,” Chapman said.
Zimbabwe pledged to increase education as a share of national budget to 20% by 2018, up from 9.6%. Burkina Faso increased its education budget from 15% to 20% over the next four years. Senegal pledged at least 6% of GDP or 23% of total national budgets to education, with $10m in additional money for marginalized children.
Girls’ education was also high on the agenda at the event.
“It has been heartening to see specific mentions of girls’ education in some pledges, which shows how some countries are taking seriously just how many girls are out of school,” said Chapman. Figures from UNESCO show that at current rates, universal completion of primary education will only be achieved by poor rural girls in Sub-Saharan Africa by the year 2086.
The General Assembly of the United Nations (UNGA) will now be the next moment for governments to show their commitment to education, within the framework of their post-2015 priorities.
Globally, there are 250 million children in school but not learning, due to lack of quality education. Since 2003, the GPE has disbursed over US$3.7 billion in grants to 59 countries, including Niger, Pakistan, and Malawi, to strengthen and extend education opportunities to the world’s poorest and most marginalized children.
About Plan International USA
Plan International USA is part of the Plan International Federation, a global organization that works side by side with communities in 50 developing countries to end the cycle of poverty for children and their families. Plan works at the community level to develop customized solutions and ensure long-term sustainability. Our solutions are designed up-front to be owned by communities for generations to come and range from clean water and health care programs to education projects and child protection initiatives. For more information, please visit www.PlanUSA.org.