Brussels seeks to raise €2.6 billion for basic education in developing world

Pakistani school. Khyber, 2011. [DFID/Flickr]

A two-day fundraising conference beginning in Brussels tomorrow (25 June) aims at raising a minimum of €2.6 billion over the next three years to boost primary education in developing countries, the European Commission announced today (24 June). 

The Second Global Partnership for Education Replenishment Pledging Conference, hosted by the European Commission, will gather more than 600 leading experts in education and development, including 40 ministers of education, Alexandre Polack, spokesperson to Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs, announced.

He said that the event will seek to tackle the “unacceptable” reality that 57 million children, more than half of them girls, remain out of school, and that far more – 250 million – are in school, but not getting the quality education they deserve.   

Polack stated that the EU is the biggest donor of the Global Partnership for Education, and that the hosts will appeal to the other participants to make pledges that respond to these challenges.

Asked by EurActiv to spell out the amount to be committed by the EU Commission, Polack said that the figure will be announced by Piebalgs during the conference.

He said that thanks to EU efforts, 14 million children have gotten access to education over the last 10 years. If the conference is successful, it would be able to give access to schooling to a further 30 million of children, the spokesperson added.

Many VIPs will attend the conference, starting with Julia Gillard, a former Prime Minister of Australia, who leads the Global Partnership for Education, a platform between donors and developing countries, to ensure progress toward the Millennium Development Goal of universal primary education.

Among the others are the Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of Congo Augustin Matata Ponyo, the Director General of UNESCO Irina Bokova, the Executive Director of UNICEF Anthony Lake, Gordon Brown, UN Special Envoy for Global Education and former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, the Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response Kristalina Georgieva, and others.

The Event will begin on the afternoon of 25 June with a high-level discussion, hosted by UNICEF and UNESCO, on post-2015 goals for education, followed by an opening plenary and reception, hosted by the Government of Denmark. On 26 June, all the participating entities will announce their financial pledges to the GPE Fund and to basic education, and there will be many parallel sessions on trends and top priorities for global education.


Speaking at the EU-hosted Global Partnership for Education’s Second Replenishment Pledging Conference on 26 June, Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs announced a new €375 million support which will contribute to providing basic education in the close to 60 countries where the Global Partnership for Education currently works.

This funding comes on top of the EU’s ongoing commitment to education – in the Agenda for Change (the EU’s policy to refocus its aid to support those sectors and countries which need it most and where it can make the most difference) the Commissioner pledged to spend at least 20% of its EU development aid on human development and social inclusion, including education.

Total EU funding for education in developing countries is expected to total some €4.5 billion between 2014 and 2020. This includes €2.8 billion for basic and vocational education, the bulk of it through bilateral cooperation, and €1.68 billion to the higher education programme. 51% of the countries supported are ‘fragile’ (countries currently affected by conflict and post-conflict countries) – an increase of almost 10% up from 2013.


Director-General of UNESCO Irina Bokova presented new data, showing that 58 million children aged 6 to 11 are still out of school, showing little overall improvement since 2007.

The new global out-of-school figures, produced by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS), show that around 43% of those out of school –15 million girls and 10 million boys – are unlikely ever to set foot in a classroom if current trends continue.

“We cannot meet this news with further inertia. On the contrary, we must sound the alarm and mobilize the political will to ensure that every child’s right to education is respected.”

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evad666's picture

Meanwhile children in the UK receive second rate education and job opportunities go to foreign nationals.

Sven AERTS's picture

I'm from the olpc - one laptopschool per child - community. Just about all kids in Uruguay, Peru, Rwanda and many more have one. Powered by a portable Photovoltaic panel, it generates CO2e certificates and pays partially for itself. Join this open community, open source, open hardware project. Some kids from Uruguay, who were 15 back in 2008, hacked their XO-laptop and turned it into a robot. I don't see that happen with rich country iPad class kids. We're looking for NGO's that want to set-up an olpc dpt in their organisations and do deployments where they have roots. Contact me for more ! Thx for reading

Sven AERTS's picture

The OLPC XO price is now for 10.000+ @ $185/XO ±€135 + 30€ for the PV panel=165 €/7 yr lifetime and made to be repaired=23,5€/yr and it can hold about 1000 ebooks, so more than enough for ALL the school AND excercise books for a whole school career and the kids can be their own teachers as supported by chatbots in the laptop.
The touchscreen and trackpad allow training in writing and numbers.
How much would you spend on paper books, exercise books and paper to write on per year?
For 23,5€/yr or 2 €/month, the kids get an open software and hardware laptop convertible to a tablet and visa versa. Resist kids rough handling and made to be repaired: all the same screws, simple + screwdriver. Greenest laptop out there, no toxins. Can hold 1000 ebooks: let's say about 300 books and exercise books/kids school career, leaves room for about 700 public domain books. With the XO-antennas allowing the laptops to mesh network / put themselves in a local internet configuration, the kids see each others 700 books in a shared folder. So in a 100 kids school, the kids see a common library of 100 x 700 = 70.000 books.
The XO-XS can be solar powered by a portable Photovoltaic panel, allowing also to charge other stuff s.a. gsm allowing the kids to make some additional money.
The wifi ears allow voip and chat upto 200m and extended with bridging capability: if the laptop of the little friend is out of reach, the laptop asks the other laptops if they can see the friends laptop and then the signal is relayed/bridged via an intermediary located friends laptop; all this goes automatically using the free processing power in a laptop and it eventually allows tele-medicine.
With a blank screen, the laptop is a lamp in a room.
As the kids take the laptop home, you uplift the whole family: kids teach the family and visa versa. Both become enablers especially if your school doesn't have books, exercise books, paper, pens, a blackboard and your teacher hasn't finished primary education him/herself. The equipped XO's really are enablers.
The XO-XS pays for itself in a several ways:
- it generates CO2e certificates under the United Framework Convention on Climate Change
- research shows a literate and ict equipped society can increase it's gdp quicker. This results in higher revenues for the country paying back the XO within the year they are released.
↑ Costs are estimates FOB China, for the default laptop configuration; International English keyboards and the latest software build.
Costs exclude shipping, taxes, and local import duties,...

Sven AERTS's picture

Under Julia Gillard, when she was Prime Minister of Australia, she imlemented OLPC Australia with a kickstart deployment of 50.000 OLPC XO laptop-tablets.