This blog post is authored by the Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP, United Kingdom's Foreign Secretary, and Amb. (Dr.) Amina Mohamed, Cabinet Secretary for Education, Kenya.
Over 130 million girls around the world will not attend school today – and over half of all school-age girls fail to achieve minimum proficiency in reading and mathematics. Although 193 member states of the United Nations have committed to ensuring their children receive a quality education by 2030, it remains a distant reality for millions of girls.
Urgent action is needed. Tackling this problem is not only the right thing to do, it is also a smart investment to help build more prosperous, fair and resilient societies. Educated girls have access to more opportunities, are less susceptible to harmful practices such as child marriage, earn more, and have healthier families. Last year’s Commonwealth Summit in London helped raise the profile of this agenda, with a shared commitment to expand opportunity for 12 years of quality education for all.
Between 2015 and 2018 the UK Government spent on average nearly £700 million a year on education through bilateral programs; supporting 11.4 million children to gain a decent education, of which at least 5.6 million were girls. During 2018, the UK pledged an additional £400 million for the second phase of the Girls’ Education Challenge; this means that up to 1.5 million marginalized girls are now being supported to receive a quality education.
We need an even greater collective effort to ensure that the next generation of girls do not face a life of poverty, illiteracy and unfulfilled potential. That is why we are co-chairing the Platform for Girls’ Education, which brings together a group of political leaders, experts and advocates from around the world to galvanize political will for this important cause.