News Column

Call to finance primary education

January 23, 2014

The leadership of Education Above All (EAA), a global initiative of Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, chairperson of Qatar Foundation , has called upon the world's business and philanthropy leaders to accelerate efforts, to finance quality basic education for the world's estimated 57mn 'out of school' children. The appeal was made during a private event at the 2014 annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos . An invitation was also extended to Davos leaders to join HH Sheikha Moza in Doha for a fundraising event in late April, where new financial commitments will be made to education. Dr Abdullah al-Kubaisi , special envoy for EAA, said: "EAA has come to the World Economic Forum to call for new investment to support education. In the past the public and private sectors have stood up and made significant progress on issues of great social and economic importance, such as public health." He added that there was a similar opportunity with primary education to prevent lost opportunity and reduce poverty as education can transform individual lives, and also economic outcomes for communities and nations. Current funding for basic education in low income countries covers less than 10% of the amount required, leaving a funding gap of $24 billion per year. To close the gap, EAA aims to link proven programmatic success with innovative funding mechanisms to open opportunities for new sources of funds from philanthropists, official development assistance, investors, foundations and business. Launched in 2012, Educate A Child (EAC), a global programme of EAA aims to significantly reduce the estimated 57 million children worldwide who are denied their fundamental right to education. EAC has so far supported more than 2 million out of school children through 44 co-funded projects in 24 countries, with a goal of reaching 10 million by the end of the 2015-2016 school year. EAC projects reach countries that account for nearly 70% of all out of school children. "Primary education provides an investment platform that pays dividends to societies well into the future. Today, we are in the process of establishing a new fund for education; a mechanism that will bring investment from new funding sources to help us accelerate efforts to close the out of school children gap," said Marcio Barbosa , CEO of EAA. EAA leadership highlighted that lack of primary education stands as a barrier to developing countries from an economic perspective as it impacts GDP. A study commissioned by EAA indicates the dramatic impact primary education can have on economies. The economic cost of out of school children ranges from country to country: from 0.30% in India (the world's tenth-largest economy at $1.8 trillion ) to 19.2% in Nigeria (a fast-developing economy of $262 billion ) of total GDP.

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Source: Gulf Times (Qatar)

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