For Immediate Release
WASHINGTON, D.C.- On Friday, April 19, the White House hosted a meeting with domestic and international partners to discuss the path towards achieving universal primary education, the second Millennium Development Goal (MDG) by 2015. The meeting came on the heels of the World Bank Spring Meetings and as the international community enters the final 1,000 days to achieve the MDGs. Administrator Shah said “By working together to support and strengthen the efforts of our partner governments to prioritize education, we can accelerate progress towards the goal of access to quality education for all children in crisis and conflict-affected countries”. In addition, Administrator Shah said that the U.S. is redoubling its efforts to ensure that children have access to school and acquire essential basic skills. Peter Baxter, Director General of AusAID noted, “The biggest investment in education is made by children themselves. They work every day to invest in their futures – we must support them to ensure that investment pays off.”
Demonstrating collective commitment to international education, the Policy Dialogue convened high level U.S. Government (USG) representatives to mobilize global support for equitable access to quality education for millions of children. Gayle Smith, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director at the National Security Council, and Gene Sperling, Director of the National Economic Council and Assistant to the President for Economic Policy, opened the meeting. Administrator Shah and Gordon Brown, UN Special Envoy for Global Education, followed with a call to action, and Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY), a long standing education champion, made closing remarks. Ministers of Education and Finance from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Nigeria and South Sudan briefed the attendees and led a dynamic discussion. The Ministers conveyed the challenges their countries face in the pursuit of universal access to quality education and their priorities for overcoming them. Noted Nigerian Minister of Finance Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, “We need to look at education like a value chain and see where the entry points are in the chain to form partnerships.”
The White House event also served to kick-off USAID’s “Room to Learn” effort, a targeted effort , as part of its five year Education Strategy, to examine options to increase equitable access to education in six countries: Nigeria, DRC, South Sudan, Haiti, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Of the children who still remain out of school, 31 million live in Sub-Saharan Africa, and more than 40% percent live in countries affected by conflict.
See more about the work USAID is doing in Education here.
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Last updated: April 13, 2015