Prime Minister appointed as Global Education Champion
WED 26 SEPTEMBER 2012
New York City, USA
Subject(s): United Nations; Foreign Affairs; Global Education Champion
Prime Minister Julia Gillard has today been appointed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as one of 10 member-state champions of his Global Education Initiative Education First.
Education Firstcalls for strong political leadership, sound policies and increased financing to help all children and young people benefit from a quality education.
At the launch of the initiative in New York today, Prime Minister Gillard outlined how the Australian Government will help more children attend school for a longer and better education.
The government has embarked on a period of unprecedented reform to ensure that every child in every school in Australia gets a high quality education. Through Australia’s aid program we are also helping children in poor countries benefit from a quality education.
By 2015-16 we expect our investment in education will:
· Help four million more boys and girls enroll in school
· Build or upgrade 24,000 classrooms
· Improve education for around 20 million children through investments in teachers and schools.
Australia’s support is already making a difference.
In Indonesia, our aid has helped build and extend 2,074 junior secondary schools to create around 330,000 new school places in some of the country’s poorest and most remote areas. We have also helped improve the quality of education by helping the government to train 110,000 teachers and 640,000 school officials.
In Afghanistan, our support has contributed to an increase in school enrolments from around one million in 2001 (virtually none of whom were girls), to around eight million in 2012 – including more than 2.7 million girls.
In Pakistan, our support in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa has helped provide stipends to around 320,000 girls, resulting in a 14 per cent increase in girls’ enrolment at the middle and secondary school level.
In Samoa, Kiribati and Fiji we are assisting children with disabilities to attend school.
In Sri Lanka we have supported the training of more than 24,000 primary education teachers and personnel.
While progress has been made, 61 million children globally are still missing out on the chance to go to school – one third of these children are in Asia and the Pacific.
Around 171 million people could be lifted out of poverty if all students in low-income countries left school with basic reading skills. This equates to a 12 per cent cut in global poverty.
Improving the future life prospects for all children requires global action to target the children who are hardest to reach or excluded from a quality education by factors such as ethnicity, gender,disability, geography or conflict.
The Prime Minister urged all governments – donors and developing countries alike – to put education first to benefit the future of our nations and the prosperity of our people.
Prime Minister Gillard joins Heads of State from Denmark, Bangladesh, Guyana, Croatia, Russia, South Africa, Tunisia, Timor Leste and Liberia as Champions for Education First.