Over one billion children in the world’s poorest countries will see a transformation in their educational opportunities thanks to £430 million of new UK aid announced by the Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Friday 11th June.
In the first session of the UK’s G7 Summit, leaders discussed how to build back better from the coronavirus pandemic in a way that creates opportunities for everyone. Ensuring all girls get a quality education is central to that goal.
The coronavirus pandemic has caused an unprecedented global education crisis, with 1.6 billion children around the world out of school at its height. Girls have been hardest hit as the pandemic compounded the obstacles to education girls already face, including poverty, gender-based violence and child marriage.
The support announced by the UK today will go to the Global Partnership for Education, the largest fund dedicated to education in developing countries.
Since it was established in 2002 GPE has contributed to the largest expansion of primary and lower secondary schooling in history, getting 160 million more children into school. In countries where GPE works the number of girls enrolling in school has increased by 65 percent.
Next month the UK and Kenya will co-host the Global Education Summit in London which aims to help raise $5 billion to support the work of the GPE over the next five years. The funding boost pledged by the UK and other G7 countries will go a considerable way towards achieving this goal.
Getting girls into school is one of the easiest ways to lift countries out of poverty and help them rebound from the coronavirus crisis – a child whose mother can read is twice as likely to go to school themselves and 50% more likely to be immunised. With just one additional school year, a woman’s earnings can increase by a fifth.
Supporting girls’ education is therefore a cornerstone of the UK’s G7 Presidency. Today G7 leaders reaffirmed their commitment to targets set at the G7 foreign ministers’ meeting in May to get 40 million more girls into school and 20 million more girls reading by the age of 10 in the next five years. The work of the GPE will be instrumental in helping achieve those targets.
The Prime Minister called on fellow leaders to make their own major commitments to achieve these targets, as well as the ambition to ensure every girl in the world receives 12 years of quality education.
Italy and the European Commission have already made pledges of €25 million and €700 million respectively to GPE and further announcements on funding are expected from G7 partners in the coming days.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:
“The best way we can lift countries out of poverty and lead a global recovery is by investing in education and particularly girls’ education.
“It is source of international shame that every day around the world children bursting with potential are denied the chance to become titans of industry, scientific pioneers or leaders in any field, purely because they are female, their parents’ income or the place they were born.
“I am calling on other world leaders, including those here at the G7, to donate themselves and put us firmly on a path to get more girls into the classroom, address the terrible setback to global education caused by coronavirus and help the world build back better.”
The £430m of new aid funding will go towards GPE’s work in 90 lower-income countries that are home to 1.1 billion children over the next five years. In time GPE aim to train 2.2 million more teachers, build 78,000 new classrooms and buy 512 million textbooks.
This funding pledge for the Global Partnership for Education is separate to the £400m of UK aid which will be spent this year on bilateral efforts to increase girls’ access to education.