Plan International, which pledged €402m to education, said it was a big win for the sector, with developing countries stepping up to the mark on the fight for universal schooling.
Nigel Chapman, CEO of Plan International, said: “We welcome this new money, which is critical to getting children into school and learning. It has been great to see developing countries stepping up and showing such leadership, with some really exciting and important increases in domestic education funding, and there has also been some brilliant donor pledging.”
EU and EU Member States, fully committed
The role played by EU nations, such as the UK, Sweden and Denmark which showed real leadership with their pledges, didn’t go unnoticed. Sweden tripled its funding to US$180m over four years and urged a focus on gender-based violence. The UK government made a capped pledge of £300m and said it will contribute up to 15% of the GPE's total pot.
Italy offered €1.5m for 2014, adding that it expects to maintain the same level of commitment per year between 2015 and 2018. However, Europe‘s economic crisis has led some to cut back on their spending, such as France and Spain, which said they were not in a position to pledge.
For his part, EU Development Commissioner, Andris Piebalgs, announced that the European Union “is pledging to more than double its contribution to the GPE Fund to €375m over the next 7 years”. “Alongside this we will be allocating over €1b from our bilateral programmes to education to partner countries where GPE is also operating,” he added.
By stepping up, the EU and its Member States are showing real commitment to helping these more than 57 million children who remain out of primary school around the world
Commenting on the EU’s commitment, Alexandra Makaroff, Head of Plan EU Office, said: “By stepping up, the EU and its Member States are showing real commitment to helping these more than 57 million children who remain out of primary school around the world. It is the responsibility of all to provide a decent education, and avoid tragic events like those we saw recently in Nigeria.”
Girls’ education, in the spotlight
Education for girls was also high on the agenda, and the conference saw specific mentions of girls’ education in some pledges, showing there is more and more awareness that 65 million girls are, nowadays, out of primary and secondary school.
Girls are most affected by the lack of guaranteed, safe and quality education. Furthermore, they’re especially vulnerable to rape, exploitation, coercion and discrimination perpetrated by students and teachers, with consequences including unwanted pregnancies, poor performance at school and high dropout rates.
On this note, Chapman stressed that the pledge made by Plan International at the Global Partnership for Education Replenishment conference will go towards basic education spend over four years for programmes spanning over 50 countries.
"The majority of the investment will go towards programmes targeting girls, with the remainder focusing on the needs of all children which will of course benefit girls as part of this. A significant contribution will be made for measures on making education accessible and safer for girls, such as those affected by early marriage or experience violence simply for wanting to go to school,” he concluded.
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