Gillard to Champion Global Education
11 February 2014 at 10:04 am
Former Prime Minister Julia Gillard has been appointed Chair of The Global Partnership for Education (GPE), an international public/private partnership devoted to providing education to the world’s poorest children.
Established in 2002, the The Global Partnership for Education is comprised of close to 60 developing countries, donor governments, international organisations, the private sector, teachers, civil society and NGO groups.
“Education is my passion,” Gillard said as the announcement was made.
“I’m proud of that record and consider it a tremendous privilege now to work with the Global Partnership and its vast network of dedicated people, institutions and countries who are just as passionate about the importance of education.
“Together, we will embark on a critical journey to bring not just access but quality education to the 57 million children currently out of school around the globe. We will work to lift the quality of education for children already in school.
“These are daunting goals, but both are well within reach if the international community works together to deliver on our promise to provide education for all.
“All my life I have been driven by my strong belief that every child should have access to a high quality education. Education changes lives. I know that it changed mine. No child should be denied the transformative power of a great education,” she said.
Gillard will be working with Alice Albright, GPE’s Chief Executive Officer and follows in the footsteps of former Board Chair Carol Bellamy who was the head of UNICEF International.
“My first and most important priority as GPE Board Chair over the next several months will be to reach out to all of the donor countries urging them to make a strong commitment to this year’s replenishment,” Gillard said.
Maree Nutt, the Chief Executive Officer of the grassroots advocacy organisation, RESULTS International (Australia), said the appointment of Julia Gillard was a coup for the Global Partnership for Education.
“RESULTS congratulates Julia Gillard on her new position and we are convinced that with her experience as a political leader and as an education reformer she will make an excellent contribution to the important work GPE does.
“The Global Partnership for Education provides funding to support the development and implementation of high-quality education sector plans in the world’s poorest countries. With close to 60 partner countries, GPE has in the last 10 years assisted low income countries to enrol 22 million children in school, construct over 53,000 classrooms, and train more than 300,000 teachers.
“Despite the proven importance of education both from a human rights and economic perspective, global education funding is decreasing. Both former Labor Governments and current Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop have described education as a central pillar of Australia’s foreign aid program,” Nutt said.
In June this year the Global partnership for Education will call on international donors like Australia to commit funds to drive the partnership’s increasingly important work over the next four years.
“With the potential of more aid budget cuts, the test will be whether the Coalition Government will also be as generous a donor to the GP,” Nutt said.
“Leveraging Julia Gillard’s expertise and position as GPE Board Chair, Australia is ideally positioned to increase its impact and ensure funds are contributing to the development and implementation of quality, country-owned, and sustainable national education plans and systems.”