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Ireland's commitment to Education in Global Development reaffirmed at EU Conference

Education, Budget/funding, News/feature, Ireland, 2013


Minister for Trade and Development reaffirms Ireland’s commitment to Education in Global Development at EU Conference


There are now 40 million more children in school globally than a decade ago, Minister for Trade and Development Joe Costello, T.D., today told a Conference on Education and Development in Brussels.

Welcoming this progress, Minister Costello said we must now strive to improve the quality of education in poor countries and make education central to the new global development framework which will replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) after 2015.

Also speaking at the conference today are former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, now UN Special Envoy for Global Education, and Catherine Ashton, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

Minister Costello said:

“Ireland is very committed to improving education in the developing world: we spend almost one-tenth of our bilateral aid on education, focussing on working with governments to train teachers, develop curricula and increase the numbers of girls going to school. Globally, there has been impressive progress in increasing access to education in low income countries over the last decade, with 40 million more children now in school. However much of this progress has been unequal across countries and within countries and there has not been enough of a focus on the quality of education provided or on addressing the obstacles which prevent children going to school.

“The quality of learning also remains a great concern in many countries. An estimated 250 million children currently enrolled in primary school either fail to reach the fourth grade in school or lack basic reading and numeracy skills by that grade . And more than 775 million adults are illiterate.

Ireland’s new Policy for International Development: One World, One Future, focuses on improving access to quality education in the poorest regions of the world. Irish Aid works with ministries of education in partner countries, civil society organisations and the Global Partnership for Education to expand access to quality education. Through working with partner countries we will continue to work towards the provision of a quality education for all.”





Notes to editor

  • Irish Aid is the Government’s programme for overseas development.  It is managed by the Development Cooperation Division of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.  Further information is available at www.irishaid.ie
  • Irish Aid’s education policy was launched in 2008 and focuses on strengthening national education systems, promoting equitable access to education and improving education quality.
  • Irish Aid spends 9% of its bilateral ODA on education; this amounted to €42.6 million in 2011. Support is provided through three channels:
    • Direct assistance to the education sectors of four programme countries - Uganda, Mozambique, Lesotho and Zambia. The support is geared to strengthen national educations systems, to improve quality and expand access with a strong focus on gender equality.
    • Secondly, Irish Aid supports the Global Partnership for Education (GPE). To date Ireland’s contribution to the partnership amounts to €39 million. The GPE provides support to all low income countries that are behind with achieving the education for all goals. The GPE’s focus is very much in line with Irelands: promoting quality, equitable access and strengthening national systems.
    • Irish Aid also supports selected civil society partners including Concern and Plan Ireland. The education work undertaken by Plan and Concern focuses on gender equality, and a considerable amount of their work is in fragile states, where a high percentage of children are not at school.

For further information contact Fionnuala Quinlan, Press Office, Irish Aid, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on 01-408 2653 or 087-909 9975