June 10, 2021

Cardin, Democratic Senators Call on Biden to Commit to U.S. Leadership on Closing the Global COVID-19 Learning Gap

“COVID-19 has created the biggest disruption to education that the world has ever seen.”

“US leadership is needed now more than ever to ensure … setbacks are not long-lasting.”

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on State Department and USAID Management, International Operations, and Bilateral International Development, led colleagues Thursday in a letter to President Joe Biden urging the United States commit $1 billion over five years to support the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) at its financing conference next month. GPE is the largest global fund solely dedicated to transforming education in lower-income countries. Its work has been especially critical during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has disrupted the learning of approximately 90% of the world’s student population, according to UNESCO.

Joining Cardin on the letter are Senators Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.).

“With the U.S. government’s global leadership, the world has seen incredible gains in improved access to quality basic education and better learning outcomes. However, COVID-19 has created the biggest disruption to education that the world has ever seen. The combined impact of school closures and economic hardship could push millions of vulnerable children out of education and reverse decades of hard-won gains,” the senators wrote.

“U.S. leadership is needed now more than ever to ensure that COVID-19 setbacks are not long-lasting. With its innovative financing mechanisms, co-financing from development country partners, and results-based financing components, GPE’s approach will make bilateral U.S. foreign assistance go even further.”

The full text of the letter follows and can be found at this link.             

 

 

June 10, 2021

President Joseph R. Biden

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Washington, DC 20500

 

 

Dear President Biden,

As members of Congress who support United States leadership on global education, we urge your Administration to commit $1 billion over five years to support the 2021-2025 strategy for the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) at its upcoming Financing Conference co-hosted by the UK and Kenyan governments in London on July 29, 2021.  

GPE is the only multilateral partnership exclusively dedicated to ensuring all children have access to a quality education and are learning by focusing on building strong, lasting education systems. It is the only global entity that brings all partners, including international donors, the private sector, and community groups, together around plans to educate more children to higher levels across the world.   

With the U.S. government’s global leadership, the world has seen incredible gains in improved access to quality basic education and better learning outcomes. However, COVID-19 has created the biggest disruption to education that the world has ever seen. The combined impact of school closures and economic hardship could push millions of vulnerable children out of education and reverse decades of hard-won gains.

In 2020, GPE quickly mobilized over half a billion dollars to support partner countries’ pandemic response. It continues to be the biggest provider of grants for COVID-19 education response. GPE’s COVID-19 fund has helped governments sustain learning for up to 355 million children in the poorest countries, with a sharp focus on remote learning, teacher support, and safe reopening of schools.

GPE has been able to provide this support by building on its strong track record of effectiveness and working at scale with the reliable national-level commitment of partner countries. GPE now supports 76 countries in getting the most vulnerable girls and boys to school, improving teaching, and advancing foundational learning – such as basic numeracy and literacy skills. It is also building resilient education systems capable of withstanding shocks, including pandemics, climate change, and violent conflict. A full ninety countries and territories are eligible for GPE support from 2021-2025, accounting for more than 80% of the world’s out-of-school children.   

GPE's innovative financing “Multiplier” helps draw in external financing for developing country partners to further co-finance their education sector plans from development banks and other donors. This fund provides $1 of GPE grant funds for every $3 a country secures in additional external financing and has generated more than $882 million for education since 2018, mobilizing nearly a billion dollars in total co-financing.

Continued U.S. leadership and financial commitments are critical to fulfilling the Global Partnership’s replenishment target of at least $5 billion from all donors at the upcoming Financing Conference. With these resources, GPE will be able to use this investment to:

o Enable 175 million primary-age children to learn

o Reach 140 million students with professionally trained teachers

o Get 88 million more children in school, more than half of them girls

o Save $16 billion through more efficient spending

U.S. leadership is needed now more than ever to ensure that COVID-19 setbacks are not long-lasting. With its innovative financing mechanisms, co-financing from development country partners, and results-based financing components, GPE’s approach will make bilateral U.S. foreign assistance go even further.             

The financing conference in July is a key opportunity to leverage other donors and developing countries with a $1-billion, five-year pledge to the Global Partnership for Education. We encourage you to demonstrate the U.S.’s enduring commitment to ensuring that all children are learning and have access to a quality basic education. We look forward to working with you to ensure funding for this important initiative. 

Sincerely,

 

Cc:

Secretary Tony Blinken

Administrator Samantha Power

 

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