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Canada’s commitment to education welcome, but investment fails to reflect growing global need

FOR INFORMATION:
Dave Stell communications manager dstell@childrenbelieve.ca; 416-898-6770
AT A GLANCE…
  • The Canadian International Education Policy Working Group, which includes Children Believe, welcomes Canada’s $300M renewal to the Global Partnership for Education.
  • Canada was asked to increase its support to at least $500 million in response to the growing global need.
  • Canada is not stepping forward to meet educational needs for the most vulnerable children.

Canada’s commitment to education welcome, but investment fails to reflect growing global need

Children Believe among working group concerned that lack of Canadian aid could directly harm children’s access to quality education

Children Believe, alongside members of the Canadian International Education Policy Working Group (CIEPWG), welcomes Prime Minister Trudeau’s commitment to tackling the global learning crisis and addressing the stalled progress for education exacerbated by COVID-19. CIEPWG also acknowledges Canada’s $300M renewal to the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), as part of a joint pledge at the Carbis Bay G7 Leaders’ Summit. To help the GPE deliver on its five-year strategy, Canada was being asked to increase its support to at least $500 million, in response to the growing global need. By not increasing its contribution, Canada is not stepping forward to meet the moment when the educational needs of the most vulnerable children are greater than ever.

More than a year into the pandemic, over half of all children are still out of school. Girls are at a particularly high risk of never returning to the classroom. An additional 250-million children and youth, including those in crisis and conflict, were already out of school before COVID-19. In the face of this global education emergency, Canada has missed an opportunity for bold leadership to address these challenges head on.

Canadian education actors are especially worried that today’s announcement signals a de-prioritization of education from Prime Minister Trudeau. In 2018, the Prime Minister not only doubled Canada’s commitment to the GPE, but also took extraordinary steps at the Charlevoix G7 Leaders’ Summit to expand access to quality education for girls living in crisis and conflict. The Canadian-led Charlevoix Declaration resulted in millions of girls realizing their right to an education, setting them on a positive path toward hope and opportunity. CIEPWG has been working with the government to ensure that the progress made under Charlevoix is protected and is calling on Canada to fulfil its 2019 election promise to expand these critical investments.

Ultimately, today’s announcement is a consequence of Canada’s persistently low investments in international aid, below the average of its peers. CIEPWG is deeply concerned the lack of sustained increase to Canadian aid is directly harming children’s access to quality education.

There is still time to do more. CIEPWG is supportive of Canada’s continued focus on its global education campaign, Together for Learning. We are calling on Canada to follow today’s words with the much-needed — and previously promised — financial resources to implement the campaign to deliver quality education for refugee and displaced children and youth. In order to turn the tide on the global learning crisis, the government must maintain and increase its investments in global education as part of a global COVID recovery effort, with a focus on the most marginalized. Eyes will be on Canada to deliver on this promise and help build a better future where every child can realize their right to a safe, inclusive and quality education.

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ABOUT CHILDREN BELIEVE (formerly Christian Children's Fund of Canada):

Children Believe works globally to empower children to dream fearlessly, stand up for what they believe in — and be heard. For 60 years, we’ve brought together brave young dreamers, caring supporters and partners, and unabashed idealists. Together, we’re driven by a common belief: creating access to education — inside and outside of classrooms — is the most powerful tool children can use to change their world.

About ChildFund Alliance:

A member of ChildFund Alliance, Children Believe is part of a global network of 12 child-focused development organizations working to create opportunities for children and youth, their families and communities. ChildFund helps nearly 23-million children and their families in more than 70 countries overcome poverty and underlying conditions that prevent children from achieving their full potential. We work to end violence against children; provide expertise in emergencies and disasters to ease the harmful impact on children and their communities; and engage children and youth to create lasting change and elevate their voices in decisions that affect their lives.