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Global Partnership for Education Ireland's Pledge by Minister of State Ciaran Cannon T.D.

I would like to thank and congratulate President Sall and President Macron for co-hosting this very important event and, by their leadership, placing education high on the global agenda.

Ireland was a founding member of the Global Partnership for Education. Our support has been unwavering since 2002, when the Education for All - Fast Track Initiative was launched. I would like to reiterate the importance Ireland places on education as a catalyst for development.

It gives me great pleasure to announce that Ireland will more than double its contribution to the Global Partnership for Education over the period 2018 to 2020, contributing a minimum of €25 million between now and 2020.

We welcome the increased commitments from other donor partners. As a proud Member State, Ireland particularly welcomes the EU commitment of €287.5 million, an increase of €100 million on previous commitments.

Ireland’s pledge reflects our commitment to quality education for all children, which resonates with our national experience. It is a statement of our confidence in the Global Partnership for Education and its work in support of delivering quality education for those children most in need.

We believe, as you do, that a quality education is a fundamental right for all girls and boys. The education of girls, in particular, has far reaching effects on child and family health, nutrition, and on the education attainment of future children.

While even a mediocre education can have a positive impact on children’s lives, it is a disservice to children and their families if the time and energy they invest in coming to school is not matched by quality education services and by quality learning.

As a former Minister at the Department of Education and Skills, I am acutely conscious of the importance of quality learning. Education must be about equipping children and young people with the skills that they need to lead healthy, productive, and meaningful lives.

As the world evolves education also has to change to match the new skills needed to negotiate this digital age. Ireland is continually updating its curriculum and approaches to teaching and learning to incorporate new demands and opportunities, and we have many lessons to share.

SDG 4 commits us “to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”. We also committed to leave no one behind and we see this as prioritising those who are furthest behind

As we focus on improving quality we must not forget the 264 million children who are out of school, many because of conflict or other crises.

Ensuring continuity of education for children in crisis situations must be our priority. Education in these situations can equip children and young people with the knowledge and skills to help rebuild their communities and countries as well has help them deal with trauma and retain hope. Each lost year decreases their chances of returning to education, resulting in lost generations and the foundation for future conflict.

I welcome the GPE’s increased targeting of grants to countries affected by fragility and conflict and its rapid and responsive mechanisms for providing funding for emergency needs.

We must also not neglect the children who are out of school or not learning because of poverty, malnutrition, location, disability, ethnicity or neglect and we have to continue to work with parents, communities and schools to overcome the barriers that these children face.

Our global future is in the hands of all children – to protect that future we must invest in their education, learning and growth.

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