1. By raising your hand, you recently supported GPE’s financing campaign to raise $5+ billion. How can a fully funded GPE collaborate with the AU to jointly achieve strategic linkages between Ministries of Finance and Education for more and better domestic spending to provide young people with quality education?
The AU fully supports GPE’s campaign to raise $5+billion and protect domestic finance. Both are essential investments for effective and efficient education systems to deliver quality and inclusive educational services for all. And its campaign call to also protect education expenditure in domestic budgets is key to the pandemic recovery.
Together, GPE and AU are advocating to strengthen and transform education systems for impact at scale. The AU encourages its Member States to increase budget allocations for education, as domestic finance. Mobilizing more resources, and improving spending are central to quality education systems, as is supporting mutual accountability through inclusive policy dialogue and monitoring.
We need more and better financing because we can’t afford to leave anyone behind. COVID has made all too glaring structural inequalities and demonstrated the urgent need to enhance investments in connectivity for all learners. AU looks forward to working with partners like GPE and technology providers on the critical solutions needed for millions of children and youth across the continent.
2. The AU advocates for the prioritization of girls’ participation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Given the AU theme for 2021 “Arts, Culture and Heritage: Levers for Building the Africa We Want” and the just-concluded AU Summit, what do you see as the key factors to increase girls’ participation in STEM and close the digital gender divide?
Digital transformation and women and girls' participation in STEM is critical to a more sustainable future. COVID highlighted the gender gap in digital access and exacerbated its effects. Girls face structural and cultural barriers and stereotypes that affect their expectations and lead them to choosing career paths outside of STEM. That is why AU/CIEFFA launched the “AfricaEducatesHer” campaign.
Increasing girls’ participation in STEM and closing the gender digital divide requires a gender-responsive approach that considers the gendered needs and experiences of boys and girls. We must address gaps through systemic policy interventions in education systems.
It is also important to change cultural norms and tackle stereotypes, share knowledge and research, and involve religious and traditional leaders at the grassroots level.