It’s been a bit of a busy time of late. We’ve had an election. We have a new minister. We have a whole raft of new MPs, and some long-standing parliamentary champions have moved on. I wanted to start this blog with a special message to former MP, Mark Williams, Member for Ceredigion and former Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Global Education.
For several years Mr Williams has championed RESULTS UK’s work on education and pressed the UK Government on issues such as education in emergencies, girls’ education, education for children with disabilities, the Sustainable Development Goals, and most pertinently for this blog, funding for The Global Partnership for Education (GPE). On behalf of all of us at RESULTS, both past and present, we thank you for your work and commitment to ensuring children everywhere receive a quality education.
As we prepare for this month’s grassroots action and move forward with our Education Counts campaign, I wanted to provide you all with a small update on what has been happening.
For those who joined our monthly call back in January, you will remember me speaking about the huge challenges that stand in the way of achieving Global Goal 4: ‘ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all’ will not be achieved this century’. While some great progress has been made, 263 million children and young people missed out on an education in 2015, according to UNESCO – a figure unchanged since 2012. In places like South Sudan, a young woman is more likely to die in childbirth that she is to finish secondary school. This is unacceptable.
Since January, the GPE, the world’s only fund dedicated solely to ensuring inclusive, quality education for children in the world’s poorest countries, has set out its case for investment, which calls on the world’s wealthiest countries to commit US$3.1 billion dollars for the period 2018-2020. With this money, GPE will be able to support the education of 870 million children across the world, train 1.7 million teachers, build 23,800 classrooms, and distribute 204 million textbooks.
We will never fix the global learning crisis without significant increases in financial commitments from both national governments in developing countries, and donor governments, including the UK. This is a sentiment that is shared by the former Chairman of the UK Parliament’s International Development Committee (IDC), Stephen Twigg MP, who called on the government to increase their funding for education following an IDC enquiry on the issue earlier this year.
The UK is already a global leader on education and a long-standing supporter of the GPE, but we believe it can go even further. That is why we are calling on the UK Government to pledge US$500 (£392) million to GPE for the period 2018-2020 and think you can play a part in helping to make this happen.
This month, we’ll be asking you to arrange a meeting with your MP to ask for a strong financial commitment to the GPE. For more information about how you can take action, visit our action page or tune in to our monthly conference call on July 4th at 8pm where we will be joined by Barry Johnson, Associate Director of Advocacy at the Malala Fund.
As former UK Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, pointed out at the launch of the GPE’s case for investment back in April, “global education is the civil rights struggle of our time”. We must act now to fund education.