Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, announced today the EU's additional contribution of €100 million to replenish the Global Partnership for Education.
The new funding comes on top of the €375 million already committed in 2014. This support will help to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and to promote lifelong learning opportunities for all, thus contributing to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and the objective of leaving no one behind.
At this occasion, Commissioner Mimica stressed this critical moment for all partners to work together, in order to reverse the current trend of declining assistance for education: "Our action can make a real change for the millions of girls and boys around the world, who are not going to school. The additional €100 million announced today will ensure that over 25 million additional children complete primary school or lower secondary school. I call on other actors and partners to follow and match our ambition. Only together can we ensure that all marginalised children, including the poorest, those in emergency and conflict situations, disadvantaged girls and children with disabilities receive a quality education and are empowered."
Currently, in many countries, over three-quarters of children at primary and lower secondary age do not achieve minimum proficiency in reading. To tackle this, the EU for example helps to address the shortage of teachers, as Africa will need 6 million additional primary teachers by 2030. It further supports partner countries in strengthening education systems and the mutual accountability of all concerned in providing quality education.
The EU's effort is paying off. To date, EU support to the Global Partnership for Education has contributed to enable 64 million more children to be enrolled in primary school in 2014 compared with 2002. The number of children completing primary school has also gone up to 73% in 2014, compared with 63% in 2002.
Investment in education is key for progress on other sustainable development challenges including health, sustainable growth, job creation and long-term peace and stability. Many countries have made historically unprecedented progress in increasing enrolment. For example, Niger increased primary completion rates from 20% in 1999 to 69% in 2015. However, there are still about 62 million children worldwide who do not complete primary education, and around 201 million children of secondary school age are not in school.
The EU is the biggest contributor to the Global Partnership for Education, providing 63% of its overall funds. The additional funding announced today comes on top of the €375 million committed by the EU in 2014. This announcement comes two months prior to GPE's Financing Conference in Dakar, Senegal.
Furthermore, the EU supports developing partner countries with bilateral support programmes for education worth around €3.4 billion, as well as €300 million for Vocational Education and Training and €1.4 billion for higher education (Erasmus+).