Education helps reduce poverty and inequality, stimulates economic growth and is crucial for sustainable development. As a key global fund, the GPE has been strengthening education systems in low-income countries since its foundation in 2002. The GPE thus plays a central role in the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 4 of the 2030 Agenda: 'Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all'. For this reason, the Federal Council decided to make a contribution of CHF 52 million to the GPE for the period 2021–25.
Despite the great progress seen in recent decades, 258 million children and young people still have no access to education, according to UN data. Girls and children in conflict zones or who have been forcibly displaced are particularly affected. But the quality of education provided is also a challenge, with many children barely able to read and write by the time they leave primary school. COVID-19 has exacerbated the already precarious state of education in low-income countries.
An important partner for Switzerland's foreign policy objectives
Switzerland has supported the GPE financially since 2009 and sits on its board of directors. Thanks in part to Switzerland's contributions, the GPE has successfully accomplished a number of far-reaching achievements since 2002. For example, an additional 160 million children have been enrolled in school and the proportion of children completing compulsory schooling has steadily increased. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the GPE has provided USD 500 million, keeping classes open for some 335 million schoolchildren.
The GPE's strategic objectives are in keeping with those of Switzerland's Foreign Policy Strategy 2020–23 and its International Cooperation Strategy 2021–24.
Global education summit
The contribution of CHF 52 million approved by the Federal Council will be officially announced at the Global Education Summit in London at the end of July. Switzerland will attend the summit. The goal of the summit is to raise USD 5 billion for the GPE to mitigate the impact of the current education crisis in developing countries by 2025.
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