By Rudina Vojvoda
The Global Partnership for Education has helped more than 19 million children go to school for the first time. A campaign to renew support for these efforts will culminate in a pledging event in Copenhagen on 7-8 November. This series of stories seeks to highlight the Partnership’s work in the lead-up to this event.
NEW YORK, 4 November, 2011 – Next week in Copenhagen, Denmark, representatives from governments, United Nations agencies, the private sector and civil society will gather to take part in a conference in support of the Global Partnership for Education (GPE).
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Since its creation in 2003, the GPE has helped 19 million children enrol in school. Seeking an education investment of US$2.5 billion over three years, the GPE is aiming to provide an additional 25 million children with the opportunity to attend school.
According to UNESCO, there are currently 67 million children around the world who are out of school and robbed of their right to an education. If all students in low-income countries could read, global poverty could be reduced by 12 per cent.
In the lead-up to the event, UNICEF discussed the challenges in financing the education sector in a podcast moderated by Femi Oke.
The importance of education
Charles Tapp, Senior Advisor for Fundraising at the GPE, commented on current funding trends, and stressed the need for a greater focus on education. “One of the things that has been concerning is that education has been somewhat falling off the international development agenda,” he said. “We have decided that we have to really crank up our efforts and try to galvanize great global attention to the importance of education.”
One of the first recipients of GPE funding is Burkina Faso, a West African nation of more than 15 million people. The country’s Minister of Education and Literacy, Ms. Koumba Boly Barry, expressed her enthusiasm to take part in the upcoming GPE and pointed out the increased rates of child literacy in her country since the partnership with GPE began. “This fund will help this country move forward,” she said.
Jennifer Maurer, Senior Policy Associate at RESULTS, a grassroots organization which fights global poverty, added to the discussion by highlighting education as the single most important intervention that can have a wide and long-lasting impact in people’s lives. “I don’t want to sound alarmist but we never think of the fact that people die because of lack of education,” she said.