CPA webinar on education finance in the Commonwealth
What is the role of the Commonwealth in supporting education funding post-COVID?
Education partners join together for global webinar examining twelve years’ education for every Commonwealth child and the importance of education financing.
Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Secretary-General, Stephen Twigg has chaired a webinar exploring the role of the Commonwealth in supporting education funding post-COVID with global education partners – Council for Education in the Commonwealth, Commonwealth Consortium for Education (CCfE) and the International Parliamentary Network for Education (IPNEd).
The CPA Secretary-General introduced the webinar by suggesting that it was always going to be a challenge to meet Sustainable Development Goal 4 on global education but that this has been compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic. This demonstrates the vital importance of resilient and gender-transformative education financing in the Commonwealth, especially given 1.6 billion learners have been out of school during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mehnaz Akber Aziz, Member of the National Assembly of Pakistan, Chair of the SDG Committee on Child Rights and IPNEd Regional Representative for Asia, spoke about how the pandemic has compounded the learning crisis in Pakistan and put decades of progress in education at risk. Globally, two thirds of lower-middle income countries have already cut their education budget since the start of the pandemic.
Ruth Kagia, Deputy Chief of Staff, Office of the President of Kenya, spoke about the progress that Kenya was making before the pandemic towards SDG4 and their goal of achieving a 100% transition to secondary education with the support of government and community engagement. Kenya has one of the largest budgets for education at 23-24% of their national budget.
Wongani Grace Taulo, Senior Education Adviser at UNICEF, outlined how COVID-19 has exacerbated the education financing gap with widespread cuts in school budgets taking place already, on top of the additional costs associated with rising climate-related events. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, UNESCO data estimated that 130 million girls were out of school for a wide range of reasons with the highest numbers in many Commonwealth countries.
Pauline Rose, Professor of International Education at the University of Cambridge and Director of Research for the Equitable Access and Learning Centre, highlighted that girls have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and so any cuts to funding for girls' education will be catastrophic for children in the world's poorest countries.
Amina Osman, Education Adviser at the Commonwealth Secretariat, spoke about how education will feature on the agenda at the forthcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) due to be held in Rwanda in June 2021, and that the Commonwealth will continue to be at the forefront of the response to global education funding.
To watch the webinar in full visit the CPA’s YouTube channel.
The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association connects, develops, promotes and supports Parliamentarians and their staff to identify benchmarks of good governance and the implementation of the enduring values of the Commonwealth. The CPA is an international community of around 180 Commonwealth Parliaments and Legislatures working together to deepen the Commonwealth’s commitment to the highest standards of democratic governance.
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