ATLANTA, Georgia — H. Res. 225, introduced by Representative Grace Meng [D-NY-6], addresses the United States’ effort to provide children in developing countries with more accessible education through the Global Partnership for Education. It went through the House Foreign Affairs Committee and is currently in the subcommittee on International Development, International Organizations and Global Corporate Social Impact.
Limited Access to Education in Developing Countries
According to Global Citizen, education is a human right that is crucial to international development and future economic growth. However, many children living in poverty cannot obtain an education due to their gender, economic status, proximity to school and unskilled educators. Education rates are lower among countries experiencing conflict as many teachers and students leave their homes, with many developing countries relying on foreign aid to provide access to education.
Although many developing countries attempted to provide more accessible education by reducing school fees, it is still unaffordable. Families must obtain other required expenses such as uniforms, writing utensils, textbooks and testing fees. Many developing countries lack enough funding for public schools. In other words, families have limited options and must send their children to private schools.
The Global Partnership for Education
The Global Partnership for Education (GPE) was established in 2002. It works with partners to improve the quality of education for all children and emphasizes gender equality in developing countries. GPE currently helps 76 developing countries and works with their governments to provide more accessible education for everyone and resources to improve academic curriculums. GPE receives grants from the World Bank, African Development Bank, Asian Development Bank, Islamic Development Bank, UNICEF and the World Food Programme.
GPE’s Work With the World Bank
The World Bank Group (WBG) works closely with GPE as both organizations aim to make education more equitable among developing countries. The WBG helped the GPE improve the curriculum for early childhood education by implementing new learning assessment methods. The WBG also helps improve access for girls, children with disabilities and those in regions experiencing conflict. In total, the WBG funded more than $45 billion in education throughout the past 20 years.
As of 2018, assistance from the GPE and WBG collaboration resulted in improved teacher training in Senegal, Ethiopia, The Gambia, Niger, Tajikistan, Mauritania and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). It led girls in Mauritania enrolling in secondary school at higher rates as they received more opportunities. Total education enrollment in the DRC increased by 20%. The country received more textbooks with a variety of subjects including French, math and science. Aid allowed Senegal to construct 195 schools in rural regions and implement new learning objectives to track children’s progress. Mongolia devised “mobile kindergartens” that provide nomadic families with resources at home for educating their children early on.
GPE Assisting UNICEF During COVID-19 Pandemic
UNICEF’s press release discusses GPE’s efforts to have the U.S. provide $8.8 million to assist in offering aid to children across 87 countries to continue their education during the COVID-19 pandemic. This aid went toward other learning programs for children to continue their education by working with partners and governments. The assistance also went toward educating children on the health precautions to take during the pandemic and on mental health. UNICEF found these measures necessary due to fear that more children may be out of school during the pandemic and that they would not return afterward.
The GPE significantly improved children’s ability to learn by providing more accessible education. In collaboration with the U.S., this organization has made a substantial effort to assist developing countries with international development and reduce poverty rates.
– Cristina Velaz