CHICAGO, Illinois — On March 13, 2021, New York Democratic Congresswoman Grace Meng, Illinois Democratic Congressman Mike Quigley and Pennsylvania Republican Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick introduced House Resolution 225, a bipartisan resolution reaffirming the U.S.’s support for the Global Partnership for Education. As of July 2021, the resolution boasts 33 total co-sponsors including senior members Eddie Bernice Johnson of Texas, Bobby Rush of Illinois, Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas, Earl Blumenauer of Oregon and James McGovern of Massachusetts. Organizations such as the ONE Campaign, RESULTS, Save the Children, UNICEF USA and the Global Campaign for Education have also endorsed the resolution.
The resolution aims to reassert America’s role in supporting the Global Partnership for Education. This is to achieve important global education goals by “improving access to quality, inclusive public education and improved learning outcomes for children and adolescents, particularly for girls, in the poorest countries,” according to the resolution’s title.
The Global Partnership for Education
The Global Partnership for Education (GPE) is a unique international fund focused on improving education for children in lower-income countries. GPE works alongside the governments of 76 eligible countries to help “build stronger, more effective education systems” for the most marginalized children. The Global Partnership for Education has operated for more than two decades. It provides “funds and supporting solutions to build strong and resilient education systems” so that all children, especially girls in lower-income countries, have access to the “education they need to contribute to building a more prosperous and sustainable world.”
Many donors make the work of the GPE possible by providing both financial and technical assistance. The top donors include the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Norway, the European Union, Denmark, the United States, Sweden, Australia and Spain. The U.S. in particular has donated a total of $451 million to the partnership. That number comprises 6.08% of the total cumulative donor contributions since 2003.
House Resolution 225
Meng, Quigley and Fitzpatrick’s resolution spotlights global inequities in education, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on global education and the lasting impact of the Global Partnership of Education. The resolution further elucidates the sponsors’ vision of the U.S. role in supporting the GPE’s objectives and goals. The resolution highlights various reports from The World Bank, UNICEF and UNHCR on educational inequities. Drawing from these reports, the resolution emphasizes:
- Only one in every five children in low-income countries has access to preprimary education.
- Children and adolescents with sensory, physical or intellectual disabilities are two and a half times more likely to have never been in school than their peers without disabilities,
- One in three children and adolescents are not in school in countries experiencing conflict or natural disaster.
- Almost half of school-age refugee children are out of school. Of the half who do start primary school, only half make it to secondary school.
- Prior to COVID-19, an estimated 258 million children and adolescents do not attend school worldwide.
The Pandemic’s Impact on Global Education
The resolution also details the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on global education, referencing a report that found that school closures affected more than one billion students “in more than 190 countries.” Responding quickly, GPE mobilized $500 million in education grants to go towards education recovery efforts like reopening schools. House Resolution 225 includes some of the significant achievements of the GPE, including:
- Increasing primary enrollment for girls to 65% and supporting partner countries to a level at which almost 75% of GPE partner countries have achieved gender parity in school completion.
- Helping conflict-affected countries increase their primary school completion rates from 58% in 2002 to 68% in 2018.
- Facilitating learning for 175 million primary-age children, reaching 140 million students with professionally trained teachers, getting 88 million more children in school, more than half of them girls. Saving $16 billion through more efficient spending.
The United States’ Role
Perhaps the most important component of the resolution is its call to action. The resolution implicitly calls for the United States to reposition itself as a key contributor in improving education outcomes through its support of the Global Partnership for Education. The resolution calls for the U.S. to affirm its leadership in improving access to public education. It also calls for the country to pledge to increase contributions to the partnership to maximize the organization’s impact.
According to a press release following introductory remarks on the resolution, Grace Meng stated, “I am honored to lead a bipartisan resolution with Representatives Quigley and Fitzpatrick that underscores the need for U.S. leadership to ensure students have the tools to succeed.” The Global Partnership for Education’s work on behalf of the most vulnerable children on the planet is of critical importance. All children deserve access to a quality education that advances the quality of their lives as well as the security of their families and communities. House Resolution 225 will allow the U.S. to become a key contributor in improving the lives of children across the globe.
– Brittany Granquist
Photo: Wikimedia Commons