Send My Friend to School reacts to UK’s GPE Pledge

Responding to the UK Government announcing a pledge of £430m to the 2021-2025 replenishment of the Global Partnership for Education, Chris Weavers, Chair (interim) of Send My Friend to School (SMF), the UK’s global education coalition, said:

“This announcement is a welcome start. As co-host of the replenishment, we now need the Government to kick on toward the £600m that civil society and parliamentarians from all parties called for the UK to commit.

“In this global education crisis, compounded by the Covid-19 pandemic, children are facing a generation defining emergency. Achieving GPE’s target of at least $5bn is a critical point on the journey to ensuring a better future for every child.

“The world is looking for the UK to deliver. If the Prime Minister is to fulfil his primary duty as co-host of the replenishment – hitting the $5bn target – then we now need to see him both lead the charge and top-up the UK’s pledge ahead of July’s summit.

“For the Prime Minister to arrive at the education summit in a strong position, he cannot do so £170m short of what the UK’s global education coalition calculated as vital to delivering a successful replenishment.

“Today’s announcement must be used as a springboard. Otherwise, the Prime Minister will forfeit the UK’s respected position as a leading donor to the partnership – in its year as co-host – and will undermine his ability to catalyse sufficient ambition from other donors.

“With bold manifesto and policy commitments on girls’ education, fulfilling these promises requires adequate financing. Instead, the Prime Minister is presiding over swingeing cuts that are imperilling the futures of the very girls he is promising to help. Today’s announcement must be taken in this context.

“Restoring ODA to 0.7% of GNI, reversing the 40% cuts to the education budget, and topping up this GPE pledge in July, must now be the priority.