A mixed bag on global education
Joanne Carter, Executive Director, RESULTS
Today world leaders came together to pledge support for the Global Partnership for Education, as kids in every corner of the globe face the consequences of COVID-19 on their education. The summit’s outcome is a mixed bag, but it shows just how critical your advocacy with Congress really is.
Once again, low-income and conflict-affected countries led the way. Together they committed a record $196 billion for education. A coalition of Heads of State, led by Kenyan President Kenyatta, rallied behind a declaration to commit at least 20% of their total domestic budgets to education. With already-limited national budgets stretched even further by the pandemic, these countries still stepped up for education as a human right and an antidote to poverty.
The United States and other donor countries, unfortunately, did not match that level of ambition – or at least not yet. In total today, donor country pledges of $4 billion fell short of the $5 billion asked of them for GPE.
Donor funding through GPE fills critical gaps in national education budgets, especially in countries already facing the consequences of decades of colonialism and unjust global lending policies. And that makes the shortfall from global donors today even more glaring.
The Biden administration announced $305 million for GPE over three years, most of which was already committed by Congress before President Biden took office. This is a far cry from the bold $1 billion five-year pledge supported by RESULTS and over 100 bipartisan members of Congress.
This is no doubt a disappointment — to me, to you, and to countries and kids around the world.
But thankfully the White House pledge is not the end of the story. The final funding decision on GPE falls to Congress, where you have helped build unprecedented bipartisan support. Since 2012, RESULTS advocates have pushed Congress to increase its annual U.S. investment in GPE more than five-fold. And we’re not slowing down now.
The impact of your advocacy these last few months is clear. Just last night, the House of Representatives passed its foreign aid bill rejecting President Biden’s proposed cut to GPE’s annual funding. Dozens of members of both the House and Senate cosponsored a bipartisan resolution in support of GPE. And a bipartisan group of 110 members of Congress signed a letter specifically calling for a $1 billion pledge.
Ultimately U.S. funding decisions lie with Congress — which means they still can deliver that $1 billion that’s needed for GPE. And together we’ll make sure they do.
Your commitment to education and its power against poverty — even as a global pandemic has intensified many of your own personal hardships — inspires me every day. Thank you for everything you do.