While G7 leaders backed the Girls’ Education Declaration made at the summit in June, financial pledges to the Global Partnership for Education are below the amount needed to ensure the most vulnerable have access to education.
The Global Partnership for Education is the only global fund solely dedicated to education and supports developing countries to ensure every child receives a quality basic education, prioritising the poorest, most vulnerable and those living in fragile and conflict-affected countries.
G7 leaders announced their support for the Girls’ Education Declaration and committed to addressing the setbacks brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Through the Declaration, G7 leaders called on all governments and the global community to redouble efforts and work together to ensure that all children, especially girls, have access to 12 years of safe and quality education. The declaration states the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on women and girls has been disproportionate and profound.
The G7 communique states: “Nowhere is our resolve stronger than in addressing the global set-back in girls’ education:
- millions of girls across the globe have paid the highest price of the COVID-19 school closures: dropping out because they may be caring for others, forced into child marriage, subjected to female genital mutilation at higher rates, or exposed to increased gender-based violence
- girls who face conflict, displacement, and natural disasters have least access to school as a place of safety and protection
- the learning losses from COVID-19 may equal the gains made by girls over the last two decades. This aggravates the existing global learning crisis and hampers our ability to provide inclusive quality education for all.”
Despite endorsing the declaration, not all G7 leaders announced pledges to the Global Partnership for Education.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a commitment of £430 million ($795 million) to the Global Partnership for Education, which falls short of the £600 million campaigners estimate is necessary to fuel post-pandemic educational recovery.
The pledge comes at a time when the UK has already slashed its aid budget by 40 per cent, defunding important projects, including in education. In addition to the UK funding, only the European Union and France announced their contributions.
Deputy General Secretary of Education International Haldis Holst said the Global Partnership for Education funding was vital.
“Without immediate and decisive action, the progress we have made to increase girls’ participation in, and successful completion of a full cycle of education over the last few decades, risks being undone by the pandemic,” Ms Holst said.
“Supporting the Girls’ Education Declaration and making strong GPE replenishment commitments are absolutely vital steps. Governments must step up and back up their promises with the funds needed to deliver on them.”
Education International reported that with less than 10 years left to meet the UN’s global sustainable development goal on education (SDG4) by 2030, the Declaration also introduces two ambitious milestone objectives:
- 40 million more girls in school by 2026 in low and lower-middle-income countries; and
- 20 million more girls reading by age 10 or the end of primary school in low and lower- middle-income countries by 2026.