Facing a crisis of this magnitude, we can no longer afford to tap dance around the issue of funding education. Therefore, we need to galvanize support and fund education at a rate never seen before.
COVID-19 has shone a light on how fragile global education is. We need to rethink and reimagine how we educate our young people. We should put these ideas on a better foundation so that they do not get wiped out by future disasters, pandemics, wars and the like.
To further stimulate innovation, education systems need to be transformed to build the skills young people need for productive lives, for the future of work, to thrive as innovators and to drive a new continental growth path. A path that builds on equity, climate adaptation and resiliency, as we must not lose sight of the huge challenges of climate change and the need to create new and sustainable jobs to replace those lost.
The world was already experiencing an education crisis before COVID-19 and Africa was at its center. It is no exaggeration to say COVID-19 is a generational catastrophe as the world lives through the largest shock to the global education system in modern history. To prevent another lost generation and ensure young people reach their full potential, sustained investment in education and human capital is necessary.
Our immediate priority must be to safeguard education spending even in the face of fiscal shocks, so children can learn the skills and knowledge they need to thrive as young adults.
This means donor finance to catalyze transformation, protecting domestic finance - the most sustainable source of finance - debt relief to move resources back into social sectors like education, renewing our focus on equity through progressive spending and seeking efficiencies, because now more than ever every dollar counts.
Now is not the time to step back from education but to stand with young people as we tell the world education is key to the recovery, essential to protect and save our future and fundamental to our ability to innovate our way out of the pandemic and mitigate future crises.
The Global Partnership for Education (GPE), working with its partners, is the pre-eminent mechanism to help millions of children and young people recover from the pandemic as it helps countries build stronger and more resilient education systems.
Read other blogs from young African innovators and winners of the African Union Innovating Education in Africa Expo, featured on the AU-GPE blog series.