On the 25th and 26th June 2014, the Second Replenishment of the Global Partnership for Education took place in Brussels. Hosted by the European Commission, more than 800 participants from 91 countries gathered together with the aim of ensuring economic investment and policy commitment.
A clever investment for all children
The Global Partnership for Education (GPE), the international organisation focused on supporting countries’ efforts to guarantee quality education for all children, organised its Second Replenishment in Brussels on 25 and 26 May, with the purpose of achieving financial support from its partners for the period of 2015-2018. Over the past decade, the GPE has allocated US$3.7 billion to support education reforms in some of the world’s poorest countries. At this conference in July, the GPE received new pledges of more than US$28.5 billion in additional funding for education for millions of children in more than 60 developing countries. The ability to raise funds emphasises the prominent role of this platform in promoting quality education for all children. Through not only economic investment but also policy commitment, the GPE has raised awareness on the importance of investing in education in a strategic way.
Currently 57 million children worldwide have no access to school, and the rates of literacy and numeracy continue to remain inadequate. Participants and all of the speakers at the conference recognised that children with disabilities were one of the most marginalised groups in education, and it was discussed as an important issue in both the general and specific sessions of the conference and also in the context of post 2015.
Give me quality education and I will look after my own inclusion
CBM was an active participant in the conference presenting at the Speakers Corner on one of its projects focused on Inclusive Education. Under the title Give me quality Education and I will look after my own inclusion, Sian Tesni, Senior Education Advisor to CBM, advocated for inclusive education as the most appropriate option for learners with disabilities.
The case study Sian illustrated was the Jerusalem Inclusive School, one of the partners CBM is supporting in Ethiopia. The school was established by head teacher, Mr Yihayes Chane, who is deaf himself. The emphasis is on including children with and without disabilities, so they can learn, play and live integrated as one. Each class includes learners who are deaf or hard of hearing, as well as those with learning disabilities, physical disabilities and visual difficulties. Every teacher is also able to use sign language fluently and the whole community has learned sign language. Even though the change in community awareness on the inclusion of children with disabilities is slow, students of the school return home and teach their parents, improving their knowledge and promoting an inclusive environment. The discussion that followed the presentation of the case study emphasised the need for quality teacher preparation and commitment from educators in order to develop and provide quality education for all.
After the presentation, in which representatives from Handicap International, International Disability Alliance, Light for the World and Save the Children participated, questions about the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities were raised. CBM highlighted the impact of sharing good practices for a more comprehensive understanding of the advantages of including persons with disabilities in society. At the conference, CBM also met with Minister Koumba Boly Barry, from Burkina Faso and Minister Hang Chuon Naron from Cambodia strengthening the relationship and exploring new possibilities of collaboration in these countries.
The success of the GPE, in obtaining solid funding and in promoting the right to education for children with disabilities, is a message to the world and a step toward a more equal future as the negotiations continue for the post 2015 agenda.