On 1st and 2nd February world leaders met in Dakar for a replenishment conference hosted by the presidents of France and Senegal in support of the work of the Global Partnership for Education (GPE). Global investment into education, particularly girls’ education, is an important issue to me and I know many of my constituents feel the same. I therefore thought I’d share my thoughts on the topic here.
In the UK, we have a proud history as a world leader in helping to transform the global education agenda. In the last 15 years, the UK has supported 11 million children through education and we remain one of the biggest donors to education internationally, including being the largest founder contributor to GPE. So far, the GPE has delivered education to a remarkable 72 million primary school children and has helped 38 million additional girls access school.
The Labour Party Manifesto 2017 expressed full support for the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, which includes Goal 4 (Education). However, according to UNESCO the gap in the level of global funding necessary to achieve Goal Four is $39 billion per year.
Furthermore, over 263 million children worldwide are not in school, while hundreds of millions more are not learning due to the poor quality of their education. This figure includes 130 million girls, and their exclusion makes it more likely they will contract HIV, marry as children and give birth to babies who will die young.
These shocking realities remind us of how far we are still yet to go and I firmly believe we must build upon our commitments on investment into education.
As rightfully stated by our Shadow International Development Secretary, global education is "a vital tool in ending poverty, improving health outcomes and tackling gender inequality by empowering girls."
The commitments made by the UK and many other nations at the GPE conference are incredibly promising for the educational outcomes of children and girls around the world. I hope that the Government will continue to demonstrate the UK's leadership on this issue by stepping up as a strong advocate for global education.