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Kenya, UK to co-host key education funding summit

The Republic of Kenya and the UK will jointly host the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) summit in the middle of next year. Kenya has been a member of the GPE since 2005, while the UK is the single largest donor to the initiative. The purpose of the summit will be to raise more funds for the partnership to continue its essential work.

“An educated population is a country’s most valuable resource,” highlighted Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta. “GPE has been a key partner in helping us to invest in innovative solutions to get all our children, especially girls, learning.”

Education is a central pillar of Kenya’s strategy to achieve newly industrialised economy status by 2030. The country has already achieved universal primary education and has as many girls as boys enrolling in school.

“We must use the opportunity of GPE’s financing conference to make ambitious pledges to invest in quality education so our children and young people have the skills and knowledge they need to seize the opportunities of the 21st century,” he affirmed.

Also read: Kenya to open trade discussions with Britain, independent of EAC members

The Covid-19 pandemic has severely disrupted education worldwide. At the height of educational shutdowns, 1.3-billion children (650-million of them girls) were out of school. It is feared that many of them will not return to school, with many countries suffering economic downturns as a result of the pandemic. This would inflict long-term damage on both individuals and communities.

Girls are especially at risk. Educating girls transforms their lives for the better and brings multigenerational benefits. A child with a literate mother has a 50% higher chance of living more than five years and 100% greater chance to going to school. Education also increases women’s earning power. A single additional school year can increase a woman’s earnings by 20%.

“Education unlocks doors to opportunity and prosperity,” stressed UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson. “It offers girls a ticket out of poverty and exploitation to chart their own futures. That’s why I am delighted that the UK will co-host the replenishment of the Global Partnership for Education in 2021. I urge the global community to come together, dig deep and ensure we fund their vital work to give every child the chance at an education.”

The GPE was set up in 2002. Since then, it has assisted in increasing the number of children attending school by 160-million. And it has doubled the number of girls in school in the countries that are members of the partnership. On Monday the GPE announced that its funding target for the next five years is US$5B. This would allow 175-million children in 87 lower-income countries to go to school. In due course, this could add US$164B to developing economies and raise 18-million people out of poverty. It could also protect two-million girls from early marriages.

“An investment in GPE is an investment in the world’s most powerful asset – its children and youth,” affirmed GPE board chair (and former Australian Prime Minister) Julia Gillard. “By refinancing GPE, leaders can send a clear message that the world is serious about creating a brighter future for all girls and boys through education.”

Source: Engineering News

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