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Minister Cannon pledges €25 million to International Education


Minister Cannon pledges €25 million to ensure that the poorest and most vulnerable children receive a quality education


The Minister of State for the Diaspora and International Development, Ciarán Cannon TD, announced today that Ireland will more than double its funding to the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) – bringing Ireland’s contribution to €25 million over the next three years. This is a reflection of the Government’s confidence in the Partnership’s capacity to deliver quality education for children most in need.

Speaking at the GPE Financing Conference in Dakar, Senegal Minister Cannon said:

“Ireland believes that quality education is a fundamental right. The education of girls, in particular, has far reaching effects on family health, nutrition and empowers girls to prioritise the education of their children”

 “As a former Minister at the Department of Education and Skills, I am acutely conscious of the importance of quality learning.  Education must be about equipping children and young people with the skills that they need to lead healthy, productive, and meaningful lives.” 

The Minister noted that Ireland is at the vanguard of countries prioritising the education of children in conflict situations and he welcomed the GPE’s increasing focus on countries affected by conflict ensuring a continuity of education for some of the world’s most vulnerable children.

Together with funding from other countries, Ireland’s investment in the Global Partnership for Education is yielding results. Millions more children are in primary school; an increasing number of children are finishing primary school and more girls are staying on into secondary school. Not only is the GPE one of the largest funders of education in developing countries it is also a global thought leader in how to address the key education challenges faced by these countries. It works closely with Ministers and Departments of Education to improve the quality of education, ensure all children go to school, and strengthen education systems.


Press Office

02 February 2018

Notes to the Editor:

  • Ireland is a founding member of the Global Partnership for Education and sits on its Board.  Ireland is the 12th largest donor to the GPE and has contributed €60.7 million since 2002 including annual contributions of €4 million for each of the past four years.
  • Globally 264 million children are out of school and many millions more are attending school but not learning, the challenge is both to get children into schools and to provide them with quality education and equip them with the skills for employment in the 21st century.
  • The conference, which is being co-hosted by President Macky Sall of Senegal and President Emmanuel Macron of France, brings together heads of state and education ministers from over 55 developing countries who, together with representatives of donor governments, multilateral organizations, civil society, private sector, and philanthropic foundations were asked to commit to increasing their investments in education.
  • Through this financing conference the GPE aims to raise USD 3.1 billion over 2018-2020 from donor governments, increased earmarked education funding by philanthropic foundations, and for developing country governments to allocate at least 20% of government expenditure to education.
  • With additional financing the GPE can support training of 1.7 million teachers, construction of 23,800 classrooms and the distribution of 204 million textbooks. This will result in 19 million additional children completing primary school, including over 10.8 million children in countries affected by fragility or conflict. It will also lead to 6.6 million additional children completing lower secondary school, including 3.9 million girls in countries affected by fragility and conflict. 
  • The Global Partnership for Education (GPE) was established in 2002. It was initially known as the Education for All Fast Track Initiative with the aim of ensuring that any low-income country with a credible education sector plan should not be prevented from implementing that plan through lack of financing.  Following a reform process in 2011 and the establishment of a more inclusive governance structure the Education for All Fast Track Initiative was rebranded as the Global Partnership for Education
  • The GPE brings together 60+ developing country governments, 20+ donors, international organizations, civil society, teacher organizations, the private sector and philanthropy to improve the lives of children and youth through quality education for all. 
  • Since 2003, GPE has allocated more than US$4.7 billion to 52 partner developing countries to strengthen education systems — improving access to schools, the quality of education, equity in learning and data collection. 60% of GPE current spending is in countries affected by fragility and conflict.
  • Ms. Alice Albright is GPE’s Chief Executive Officer since 2013 and Hon Julia Gillard, former Prime Minister of Australia, is the GPE Board Chair. 
  • The GPE is Irish Aid’s largest global education partner and compliments other education support through NGOs and bilateral cooperation programmes.
  • Countries supported by the Global Partnership for Education have shown significant improvements in education results, including:
    • An increase of 72 million more children in primary school in 2015 compared with 2002 and an increase in primary school completion rate from 63% in 2002 to 76% in 2015 ( 57% to 745% for girls).
    • An increase in primary school completion rates in GPE partner countries affected by fragility or conflict from 58% in 2002 to 68% percent in 2014. 
    • An increase in lower-secondary school completion rates from 38% in 2015 to 50% in 2002 (35% to 48% for girls).

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