Welcome. Join Us.
Lack of access to quality education is preventing millions of people from escaping the cycle of extreme poverty around the world. Most of the 67.5 million children still out of school are some of the poorest and hardest to reach. More than half of them are girls and most are living in countries in conflict and in rural areas. Although many governments have eliminated the biggest obstacle to enrollment by abolishing school fees, other financial barriers such as uniforms and testing fees still prevent many of the poorest children from enrolling. In addition, for many poor families the long-term benefits of sending their children (especially their daughters) to school are outweighed by the immediate benefit of sending them to work or keeping them at home to help with chores.
Many countries that have experienced a surge in primary school enrollment have not been able to make adequate investments in quality, such as recruiting and training teachers, expanding classrooms and purchasing materials. Sub-Saharan Africa faces the most pressing need for teachers, with 1.2 million more needed order to reach the goal of universal primary education (UPE) by 2015. In Madagascar, Mozambique and Sierra Leone, for example, there are more than 80 students in a classroom with one trained teacher. As a result of deficiencies like these, learning outcomes across the developing world remain low and many children go through primary school without gaining a minimum level of literacy and math skills. Moreover, in countries where classrooms are crowded, supplies are scarce and the opportunities to move on to secondary school limited, many children drop out before graduating. Primary completion is especially poor in sub-Saharan Africa, where only 70% of children who enter first grade go on to graduate.
Research indicates that investment in education, with a focus on girls, may be one of the highest yield investments in the developing world. By equipping a child with necessary knowledge and skills, education delivers society-wide development returns. Countries that increase the number of women with a secondary education by 1% could boost their annual per capita income by 0.3%. Educating girls for five years could increase child survival rates by up to 40%, and a study in Uganda found that children who finished secondary education were seven times less susceptible to HIV (and those who finished primary education half as likely) as those who received little or no schooling. Moreover, education is one of the central building blocks of a strong, cohesive society. According to a study of 100 countries, educating girls and reducing the gender gap can promote democracy.
In recent years, many governments have recognized the potential of education by making substantial new investments into the sector. Many sub-Saharan African countries, for example, allocated some of the billions of dollars freed up by debt cancellation towards education. Along with development assistance for education, debt savings helped send an additional 46.5 million African children to school for the first time between 1999 and 2008.
In addition to debt relief, donors have acknowledged that they have a vital ongoing role to play in supporting governments who commit to the goal of expanding access to education. At the World Education Forum in Dakar in 2000, donors and developing countries set forth the goals of Education for All (EFA) and established 2015 as a target date for achieving Universal Primary Education. They also made a commitment: if developing countries committed the political and financial resources to providing free and compulsory primary education by 2015 and created credible and achievable education plans, donors would provide the technical know-how and extra funding needed to make it happen. The agreement was reaffirmed at three subsequent G8 summits, including the 2008 summit in Hokkaido.
These agreements gave rise to the first-ever global compact on education in 2002. Formerly known as the Fast Track Initiative, the Global Partnership for Education is a partnership between donors and developing countries to accelerate progress toward a quality primary education for all. The Global Partnership coordinates increased bilateral and multilateral funding for countries whose education plans have been technically vetted and endorsed by a team of policy experts and donor countries. Partner countries made some notable progress towards universal primary education in the past few years. Between 2002 and 2009, 19 million more children were enrolled in school in Global Partnership countries worldwide.
Despite these encouraging results, the Global Partnership faces persistent funding shortfalls. Donor leadership in education is needed for the Global Partnership to finance its multilateral fund, encourage bilateral support for education, and provide predictable funding for education plans in partner countries over the next three years.
went to school for the first time between 1999 and 2007 thanks to savings from debt relief, development assistance for education and prioritization by African governments.
to achieve universal primary education by 2015.
if girls are educated for five years.
World leaders can and should do more if we are going to reach the Millennium Development Goal of achieving universal primary education by 2015. We applaud the United States for their first contribution in support of the Global Partnership, and call on the Obama Administration to study the most cost-effective way to support basic education before next year’s budget. We’re confident that the Global Partnership will fare well and hope that the Administration will then go even further in its support. MORE