Earlier this week, the APPG on Global Education and the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) held a private parliamentary roundtable with CEO of GPE, Alice Albright, FCDO Director General, Vijay Rangarajan, Professor Pauline Rose, and GPE youth ambassador Selina Nkoile from Kenya. The session was opened by an address from FCDO Minister Wendy Morton who is the minister responsible for girls’ education.

The 16 UK parliamentarians in attendance enjoyed an in-depth discussion with the other attendees about the crisis upon a crisis that the pandemic has presented for progress on girls’ education and the importance of UK leadership at this year’s GPE replenishment and G7.
Alice Albright praised the role that the UK had played as partners of GPE, and talked through the importance and necessity of reaching the $5bn replenishment target. GPE’s Youth Leader from Kenya, Selina Nkoile, shared her first-hand experience of the importance of investment in education, and set out the benefits for girls and their communities. which she had personally received.

Following the opening remarks, parliamentarians asked a wide range of questions of the panelists, from how GPE would work with the new US administration, how GPE was progressing in working towards its replenishment target and the work that it was doing to address factors on school attendance for girls beyond Covid-19, including sanitation, toilet facilities and nutrition. The discussion also considered the FCDO’s role and its ongoing work to address, and advance progress on these issues. 

The former FCDO minister and Special Envoy for Girls’ Education, Baroness Sugg, stressed how the UK’s commitments to girls’ education, made prior to the expected ODA cuts, must be protected. Although Minister Morton and Vijay would not be drawn on specifics of a UK pledge to GPE at this stage, many of the MPs and peers in attendance stressed the importance of the UK pledging ambitiously and pledging early. Baroness Sugg, in particular, raised civil society’s ask of £600m for the UK’s contribution to GPE re-financing, which was publicly announced by the Send My Friend to School coalition earlier this week. Chair of the International Development Committee, Sarah Champion MP, also emphasised how important it was that the UK made an early commitment as it had with GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance’s replenishment last year, in order to encourage other donors to step up their pledges and demonstrate the UK’s financial commitment to girls education.

After an engaging discussion, the attendees ended a the session by pledging their support to GPE’s re-financing this year and its partnerships with countries around the world by ‘raising a hand’. The APPG would like to thank all attendees for taking the time to join us at the start of what is a crucial year for girls’ education.