Julia Gillard drives education fund to keep girls in school
Gillard said that the fund, called the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), is helping students in developing countries and 50 per cent of the funding supports nations affected by fragility and conflict.
A global education fund led by the former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has brought together governments of more than 60 developing countries, donors and teachers to improve the lives of students.
In an exclusive interview with Khaleej Times at the 5th Global Education and Skills Forum, Gillard said that the fund, called the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), is helping students in developing countries and 50 per cent of the funding supports nations affected by fragility and conflict.
Since its formation in 2002, GPE has allocated more than $4.6 billion to partner developing countries to strengthen education systems - improving access to schools, the quality of education, equity in learning and data collection.
"Our model of change is about focusing on how schooling systems is set up and planned, and in many parts of the world, governments have been planning schools for years and years, but in countries where we work, often there hasn't been a plan before or there's been a plan that wasn't an exclusive one for all children.
"We've got a good track record of showing increased primary level completion rate, increased gender parity in education - how many girls to how many boys are completing. When you look across GPE countries, what you see is domestic governments committing to more education, more children finishing primary school and certainly more girls participating in school."
Gillard said GPE comes across countries where families have to choose whether to send daughters to school because of poverty. In such cases, GPE funds specific programmes that can aid schools to increase enrollment. "One thing that keeps girls out of school is family poverty. For poor families, often the decision is that it's best to keep the girl at home for domestic duties or work on the agricultural plot.
"We've had good experience with school feeding programmes or modest cash transfers. These can make a difference in a family's decision to keep a girl in school. If the girl is going to get a good meal at school, that's a big benefit," she said. GPE also has a partnership with UAE-based Dubai Cares.
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