‘Real work begins now’ as Global Education Summit raises $4bn

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The Global Partnership for Education helps children in some of the world's poorest countries (Global Partnership for Education)

Education funding, Global Youth Ambassadors, Justin van Fleet

Investment in education and the future of our children is absolutely crucial if the world is to rebuild and recover from the devastating effects of the pandemic.  

That was the strong message from Theirworld President Justin van Fleet as international donors at the Global Education Summit in London pledged $4 billion to help millions of vulnerable children

The funding is for the Global Partnership for Education, which has a target of $5 billion to enable up to 175 million children to learn and to get 88 million more girls and boys in school by 2025. Following the lead of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, 19 countries also committed to spend at least 20% of their national budgets on education. 

“The $4 billion raised by donors is a down payment on the $75 billion which will be needed annually to deliver quality education to every child,” said van Fleet. “The commitments by countries on education spending are also to be applauded.  

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Several countries committed to spend at least 20% of their national budgets on education (Global Partnership for Education)

“But now the real work begins. Putting the money to good use, investing in inclusive and quality early childhood education and development, safe schools and youth skills programmes are imperative if we are the provide real opportunity and equity for the next generation.” 

Theirworld’s President was a panellist at a summit event on education finance, which was held online. He said: “We are at a moment in history where every single child around the world has had their education interrupted. Education should be at the top of the policy agenda when we’re looking at recovery efforts.  

“This is the time in a global recovery, when we’re trying to stimulate economies, where we need to be investing in education – and we’re just not seeing that.” 

Van Fleet spoke about Theirworld’s Education Finance Playbook – a practical guide for governments, donors and philanthropists to fund quality, inclusive education for all by 2030. It warns that at an additional $75 billion a year, on average, is needed to achieve that. 

Current aid to education is just $16 billion a year and is projected to fall, leaving an education funding gap of at least $59 billion a year. To plug that, world leaders must commit to innovative new ways to unlock billions of dollars for education.  

Gya Ajwok Mary Valentino

Ajwok Mary Valentino tells the Global Education Summit event about her teaching experiences in Uganda

Van Fleet paid tribute to Theirworld’s Global Youth Ambassadors (GYAs), who are campaigning for this to happen. He added: “It’s up to people to create the public demand and pressure to generate that revenue and to invest it in education.”  

One of our GYAs also appeared at a Global Education Summit side event titled Pre-prioritising Pre-primary Education. Ajwok Mary Valentino is from South Sudan and now lives in Uganda, where she is a teacher at Kiryandongo refugee camp. 

Asked how she kept young children engaged in learning during the pandemic, she said: “When Covid came, early childhood education was suspended, meaning the children have been home. They have no access to internet or smart gadgets to continue learning.   

“We have been able to adapt by, for instance, keeping children active with sports to help reduce stress. We are also training teachers in ITC to enable them to prepare for the new normal. And we have teachers distributing learning materials door to door.” 

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