As Kids in the U.S. Head Back to School, Millions Around the World Are Left Out
Across the country, children of all ages are picking out new school supplies and getting ready to meet new teachers and classmates. This is a yearly ritual in the U.S., but around the world, there are millions of kids who don’t have the same chance. Right now, there are 263 million children and youth who are out of school globally.
In places like South Sudan, a young woman is more likely to die in childbirth than she is to graduate high school.
Now, leaders around the world are starting to mobilize around a plan to give 25 million more children the quality education they deserve through the Global Partnership for Education. This is the only partnership of its kind dedicated exclusively to education in the world’s lowest-income and most fragile countries.
Since 2011, the U.S. government has made increasing annual investments in the Global Partnership for Education, helping drive its success. While the White House signaled its intention earlier this year to drastically slash funding for global education and other international anti-poverty programs, Congress is thankfully pushing back against those cuts. Now, education leaders, grassroots advocates, and members of Congress are urging a renewed investment in GPE. In Congress, a new bicameral, bipartisan resolution calls on the U.S. government to make a bold financial commitment to GPE’s multi-year strategy. The House version of the resolution, introduced at the end of July, already has strong bipartisan support.
As the Global Partnership kicks off its fundraising drive for this ambitious new plan, it’s time for leadership, not retreat, from our elected officials. The U.S. cannot turn its back on the world’s most vulnerable children.
The Transformative Power of Education
Education is the opportunity every parent wants for their child and every child wants for building a brighter future. International law and basic sense say that it’s every child’s right. And an education can be transformational: Even just one additional year of school can increase a person’s lifetime earnings by 10%, dramatically decrease a young girl’s likelihood of contracting HIV, and make a child less likely to be targeted for violence or early marriage.
The Global Partnership for Education makes this opportunity a reality for more children, uniting government leaders in lower-income countries with international donors, the private sector, and communities. Together they develop, fund, and build lasting systems to educate the most vulnerable children, from preschool through high school. About 60% of GPE support is in countries affected by fragility or conflict.
The overwhelming share of investment in education for vulnerable children comes from governments in lower-income countries themselves. Donor financing helps bridge critical remaining gaps.
Now the Global Partnership is launching an ambitious new plan to give more children the quality education that is their right. If the world comes together behind its plan, over the next three years the Global Partnership for Education can support countries to achieve:
• 19 million more children completing primary school
• 6.6 million more children completing lower secondary school
• Training for 1.7 million teachers
• 23,800 new classrooms built
The Global Partnership is asking its developing country partners to allocate a full 20% of national government expenditure to education annually, and it is asking for a collective $3.1 billion from donor governments over 2018-2020.Leaders like Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai have reminded the world that education is a human right — and that a quality education can radically change the trajectory of a child’s life. As Malala says: “One child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world.”
This year, the U.S. has a chance to help change the world and invest in a brighter future for millions of kids.