Every child deserves an education (opinion)

My grandparents immigrated from Italy and none of my grandmothers could read or write. My mother, the oldest of five children, was forced out of school at the age of 14 to help support her family in the early 1930s. I was the first woman in my family. to attend university and I have a masters in elementary education. I am telling you this because it is clear to me that education is about accessing opportunities and realizing potential. It also makes wealth building possible – as a single woman, I own a home on Staten Island, building on my parents’ wealth. Education is the key to a fairer, more prosperous and more equal future for today’s youth. Today’s generation of young people is the largest ever, and 9 out of 10 live in low-income countries. Even before the pandemic, there were 250 million children out of school. The pandemic was the biggest education disruption in history, and sadly, not all children will return to school, especially young girls. Twenty million high school girls are at risk of dropping out. Many will be forced into child marriages. Girls deprived of education are deprived of opportunities and dreams. The Global Partnership for Education (GPE) is the largest global fund exclusively dedicated to transforming education in low-income countries and delivering quality education. Since 2002, an additional 160 million children have been sent to school with GPE support, more than half of whom are girls. GPE works with countries that need it most. In 2019, 76% of GPE funding went to countries affected by conflict and fragility. Countries applying for GPE grants must show their commitment to education in their own national budgets, and there is a high degree of accountability. On July 28-29, the UK and Kenya will host a GPE replenishment conference for 2021-2025. The Global Partnership for Education’s strategy for the next five years aims to enable 175 million children to go to school in more than 90 low-income countries, 88 million more than would otherwise be possible . GPE estimates that its investments over the next 5 years will lift 18 million people out of poverty and prevent 2 million girls from being forced into marriage. The estimated cost of this five-year plan is $ 5 billion, which is not a huge amount in the context of the global economy. The United States must support this goal by pledging no less than $ 1 billion over five years. US leadership with a commitment of this amount will encourage other countries (such as Britain, Germany, Canada, Switzerland, and Japan) to also step up commitments that will make GPE’s goals possible. To quote Malala Yousafzai: “If we spend billions of dollars on bombs, why not spend on pens, on books, on teachers. Many of us take the ability to read for granted. One of the happiest things in my life is teaching hundreds of children to be good readers and critical thinkers. Let’s give every child on the planet the opportunity to learn to read. (Joanne DiDato, of Port Richmond Center, is a retired elementary school teacher who taught at PS 4 on Staten Island. For 35 years, she has been an active volunteer with RESULTS, a citizen advocacy group dedicated to poverty eradication.)

About Jennifer Schuman

Jennifer Schuman

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