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The European Parliament urges the EU to place education at the centre of development cooperation

On 13 November 2018 in Strasbourg, the European Parliament Plenary adopted a report on development assistance in the field of education. For the past months Plan International EU Office has been working closely with Members of the European Parliament and our global expert on education Yona Nestel, ensuring that the report promotes investment in quality, inclusive education with a focus on girls.

In line with our inputs, the report sets a strong policy framework for investments in education, drawing on key documents at the EU and global level, such as the EU Gender Action Plan II, the recent Charlevoix Declaration on quality education for girls, adolescent girls and women in developing countries adopted by the G7 in June 2018, and Sustainable Development Goal 4. More specifically, the report calls on the European Commission for an updated policy document on education, which will need to set out a plan for achieving SDG 4 by 2030” – and we could not agree more.

After several exchanges with those in the European Parliament responsible for drafting the report, we welcome the specific reference it makes on the situation of girls, recognising the fact that they are the ones most affected by specific challenges when it comes to education. Ranging from the fact that girls are particularly at risk of missing out on education in conflict situation, to the need to ensure a comprehensive approach to sex education in order to improve girls’ access to education. But more than just highlighting these challenges, this report is primarily calling for the need to guarantee funding needed to ensure the fundamental right to education is realised for all children.

this report is primarily calling for the need to guarantee funding needed to ensure the fundamental right to education is realised for all children

We strongly support the specific targets the report proposes to the European Union and its Member States to invest in education. For example, it urges the EU “to devote 10% of their official development aid (ODA) to education by 2024, and 15% by 2030” with half of these amounts dedicated to basic education. With regards to girls in particular, it calls on the EU to “promote inclusive, quality education, in order to remove barriers to girls’ access to, participation in and completion of education”, and “recalls the objective that 85% of new EU programmes should have gender equality as their primary objective or as a significant objective”.

Most importantly, these targets should be included in the next EU budget so as to ensure that over the next seven years, education is no longer left behind and progress is made in achieving SDG 4.

 

Interesting read Plan International position paper on ‘The Rights to Inclusive, Quality Education’ (Oct, 2017).