Ministers of Education representing over eighty partner countries of the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) says they are determined to mobilise transformative action to address the unprecedented teaching and learning crisis that threatens the future of children everywhere.
The group who are responsible for the education of over 650 million school aged children in the world’s lowest income countries observed that as they strive to respond to and recover from the impacts of Covid-19, countries are further confronted by a contracting global economy, food and energy shortages, rising debt burdens and a worsening climate crisis.
According to a Ministerial communique on transforming education at scale, the education disruptions caused by Covid-19 have created immense learning losses. School closures have starkly exacerbated inequalities for the marginalized children, those with disabilities, and for children and young people affected by conflicts, disasters and displacement. Critical barriers like poverty and gender inequality, as well as lack of school infrastructure and trained and skilled teachers, continue to keep children out of school.
“Quality education is foundational to achieving all the Sustainable Development Goals. The pressing global challenges we face have underscored the need to transform education at scale. Our goal is clear: to accelerate access, learning outcomes and gender equality through equitable, inclusive and resilient education systems fit for the 21st century”, the group stated.
We recognize that transformation at scale begins with strong country leadership and is accelerated by partners aligning their efforts behind our systems. We welcome the growing political momentum behind the Heads of State Call to Action on Education Finance. We recognize that our governments remain the most significant source of sustainable and predictable financing for education, while reiterating the urgent need to protect and increase external financial resources which support countries’ own investments in education.
We commit to transforming education by: mobilizing political will at the highest levels locally, nationally and internationally for more, better and innovative education finance; building on evidence and prioritizing key policy reforms in and out of the classroom that put the learner at the center;
Hardwiring gender equality in our education policies, planning and implementation priorities, as called for in the Freetown Manifesto for Gender-Transformative Leadership in and through Education.
We call on the international community to: improve aid efficiency, harmonization and alignment behind our national priorities and commitments for transformation, and our systems to address the key bottlenecks to progress in education;
Mobilise more resources for education in ways that support increased fiscal space for countries to invest in education, including through debt reduction initiatives;
Strengthen and diversify local, national and global partnerships that support context-specific solutions particularly to address the adverse impacts of climate change and protect education in conflict and crises, including improving our capacity to deliver digital learning, especially for the most marginalized children.
We recognize that the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) is the world’s only partnership and fund dedicated entirely to helping every child in lower-income countries to get a quality education. GPE supports our efforts to transform our education systems by mobilizing partnerships and investments behind our priority reforms. We call on the international community to ensure a fully funded GPE.
“A child’s right to quality education is fundamental to their humanity and their social and economic prospects. We are determined to guarantee this right for every child. We are confident that delivering on our commitments, matched by the right support from the international community, will be transformative for our children and for the world”, the Ministerial communique stated.