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Brussels, 5 June 2014
President Barroso calls on world leaders to reverse education funding decline
The President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, and the EU Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs, have signed an 'Open letter' calling for a greater commitment to global financing for education, particularly for girls. The letter is also signed by Prime Minister of Denmark Helle Thorning-Schmidt and Prime Minister of Norway Erna Solberg and Julia Gillard, Chair of the Global Partnership for Education and former Prime Minister of Australia, ahead of the Global Partnership for Education conference on June 26 in Brussels.
Here are some extracts of the letter:
"The right to education, particularly for girls, is still too often denied – sometimes violently as the recent abduction of more than 200 school girls in Nigeria shows. This is completely unacceptable and we condemn the terrorist actions of Boko Haram in the strongest possible terms. We call on the entire international community to stand together for the right of all children – girls and boys – to education.
Despite considerable progress, today an estimated 57 million children of primary school age are still not in school – more than half of them in fragile and conflict-affected states. Around 250 million children either don’t make it to grade 4 or fail to learn the basics of reading and writing by the time they reach grade 4.
Girls are disproportionately represented in these figures. They are more likely to face barriers such as violence and discrimination, leading them to drop out or never enroll in school at all. At the secondary level, gender disparity often increases, as girls are pressured to leave school to marry, have children or work at home.
The reasons to invest in education are clear: nations cannot thrive without educated workforces and informed, engaged citizens. Education combats inequality and leads to improved health outcomes. Countries with higher levels of education are less prone to conflict and instability, while gender parity in education is closely linked to higher economic growth."
On June 26, the Global Partnership for Education and the European Commission will bring together leaders in education, representatives of governments, international finance, philanthropy and civil society for its second Replenishment Conference, taking place in Brussels. Developing country partners are being asked to pledge to increase domestic financing for education towards 20 percent of their domestic budgets. Together with the pledges made at the event, a total of US$3.5 billion (€2.57bn) is expected to be raised during the 2015-2018 period.
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