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“A decidedly underwhelming result” – ONE reacts to the Global Education Summit

Following today’s Global Education Summit announcements where donors raised around $4 billion, and 18 Heads of State endorsed President Kenyatta’s domestic call to action and committed to $192 billion in domestic funding for education for the next five years, the ONE Campaign has released the following statement.

Speaking about what the outcome of the GES means for the UK as host of the conference, Lis Wallace, UK Head of Advocacy, said:

“After all the rhetoric from leaders about the importance of investing in education, this is a decidedly underwhelming result. Although these commitments will help secure the futures of many more children, the reality is that we’re around $1 billion short of the original target. Unfortunately, the report card for leaders after the summit tells an all-too-familiar story – they must do better.

“As host, the UK has to shoulder responsibility for this outcome. Despite bold words and bombast about the importance of girls’ education, the Prime Minister has not demonstrated the leadership expected. The UK aid cuts have impaired the government’s efforts to leverage others, and damaged our credibility. This is not just letting down millions of children, it’s a bad look for British diplomacy.

“To fill the gap, all governments must top up their contributions – including the UK.”

Speaking about what the outcome of the GES means globally, Edwin Ikhuoria, Africa Executive Director for ONE, said:

“The whole world is still trying to escape the aftershocks of the pandemic but this cannot come at the expense of the next generation. Education is the foundation for all the progress we need to see and can never be relegated to the sidelines. It’s unfathomable that by 2030, 750 million people – or around 1 in 10 globally – may not have gained the basic literacy skills by the age of 10.

“We can’t afford to wait another five years to get this right. We need to see real ambition backed up by much stronger leadership. Leaders must now urgently look for new ways to close the gap, and ensure that budgets are spent efficiently and in a targeted manner.”


For media queries please contact Chris Mitchell via [email protected] or call 07901006799 

Lis Wallace and Edwin Ikhuoria are available for comment upon request.

Notes to Editors:

  • The full target of the 2021 Global Education Summit to finance the Global Partnership for Education is to raise at least $5 billion from donor governments, which will enable 175 million children to learn and 88 million to attend school over the next 5 years. GPE’s previous replenishment conference in 2018 in Dakar raised $2.3 billion.
  • Funding raised at today’s Summit is for a five-year replenishment cycle (2021-2025). Funding raised in 2018 was for a three-year replenishment cycle (2018-2020). This means that comparing the amount of money raised at the two Summits has to be adjusted to take account of the different timescale. The approximately $4 billion raised at today’ Summit equates to $800 million per year, and the $2.3 billion raised in Dakar in 2018 equates to $767 million. 
  • About GPE:  The Global Partnership for Education is a shared commitment to ending the world’s learning crisis. It is the only global partnership and fund dedicated entirely to helping children in lower-income countries get a quality education, so they can unlock their potential and contribute to building a better world.