Good morning; it’s an honor to speak with you today. I want to commend the United Kingdom, Kenya, and the Global Partnership for Education for convening this import summit at such a critical time for the world’s children.
The United States has long been a champion of education as a foundational driver of development and a tool to transform societies. As the largest bilateral donor of international basic education, we work directly with more than 50 countries to invest in the talent and potential of their kids.
But today, as we know the COVID-19 pandemic adds fresh urgency to our efforts to support global education. At the pandemic’s peak, as many as 1.6 billion children were affected by school closures and lockdowns. Thankfully, that number has declined dramatically, but more than 31 million children still remain out of school—and many may never return to a classroom.
Several countries are experimenting with virtual education and radio programming, but we know that unless we can get kids back in school, the world risks producing a “lost generation.”
We can’t let that happen. That’s why the U.S. will invest $305 million in the Global Partnership for Education over the next three years, as a complement to the nearly $1 billion we will invest in basic and higher education bilaterally this year.
The United States has been a proud member of the Global Partnership for Education since 2011, and we want to build on the progress the Partnership has made in enrolling 160 million children in school over the past two decades.
We are committed to supporting the Partnership as it continues its work to strengthen global education systems and improve learning outcomes, particularly for the most marginalized groups––including girls, LGBTQ+ children, and children with disabilities––so all children can feel the transformative effects of education.
Let’s make sure that children across the world have the access to quality education that they need to dream limitless dreams, and that the world never misses out on a generation of talent and potential.
Thank you so much.