EU announces significant new funding for education

New funding to support education in developing countries over the next seven years, through the Global Partnership for Education, (or GPE), was today announced by European Development Commissioner, Andris Piebalgs.

Speaking at the EU-hosted Global Partnership for Education’s Second Replenishment Pledging Conference, the Commissioner underlined that the new €375 million (US$510 million) support will contribute to providing basic education in the close to 60 countries where the Global Partnership for Education currently works.

Announcing the commitment, Commissioner Andris Piebalgs said: ‘As a former teacher myself, I have always been strongly committed to ensuring that all children receive a quality education, no matter where they live. That’s why we are proud to partner with the GPE on today’s event – it shows our firm ongoing commitment to education, and I hope today’s event will also encourage other donors to redouble their efforts; not only to get children into schools but also to improve the standards of education they receive there.

This funding comes on top of the EU’s ongoing commitment to education – in the Agenda for Change (the EU’s policy to refocus its aid to support those sectors and countries which need it most and where it can make the most difference) the Commissioner pledged to spend at least 20% of its EU development aid on human development and social inclusion, including education.

Total EU funding for education in developing countries is expected to total some €4.5 billion between 2014 and 2020. This includes €2.8 billion for basic and vocational education, the bulk of it through bilateral cooperation, and €1.68 billion to the higher education programme. 51% of the countries supported are ‘fragile’ (countries currently affected by conflict and post-conflict countries) – an increase of almost 10% up from 2013.

Today’s replenishment conference aims to mobilise domestic resources and external financing for education in GPE countries for the 2015-2018 period, the latter both through the GPE Fund and through bilateral support.

Developing partner countries are expected to make significant pledges in terms of mobilisation of domestic funding for education, which is critical for success as it caters for the lion’s share of those budgets. On the donor side, in addition to the European Commission, other EU donors are expected to pledge significant amounts to the GPE at the event.

Julia Gillard, former Prime Minister of Australia and Chair of the Global Partnership’s Board of Directors, will chair today’s event, together with Commissioner Piebalgs;. Over 40 education ministers from developing countries will represent their countries, as well as Augustin Ponyo, Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kristalina Georgieva, European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, ministers from across the EU, former Prime Minister of the UK, and UN Special Envoy on Global Education, Gordon Brown and Ziauddin Yousafzai, U.N. Special Adviser on Global Education, Honorary Chair at the Malala Fund (and father of education activist, Malala Yousafzai), Irina Bokova, Director General of UNESCO and Anthony Lake, Executive Director of UNICEF.

The European Union and its member states are the biggest donor to the Global Partnership for Education, having contributed more 75 % of US$ 3.7 billion awarded from the GPE Fund in 2004-2013. Since 2004, support from the Global Partnership for Education contributed to the following results:

22 million more children go to school, including 10 million more girls

28 developing country partners have achieved gender parity in primary school completion

300,000 teachers have been trained

Close to 53,000 classrooms been built, rehabilitated and equipped


The Global Partnership for Education is made up of nearly 60 developing country governments, as well as donor governments, civil society/non-governmental organizations, teacher organisations, international organisations, and the private sector and foundations, whose joint mission it is to galvanize and coordinate a global effort to provide a good quality education to children, prioritizing the poorest and most vulnerable. It has allocated US$3.7 billion over the past decade to support education reforms in developing countries.

Between 2004 and 2012, thanks to EU support:

7.7 million people received technical and vocational education and training

1.2 million primary teachers were trained

37,000 schools were built or renovated

13.7 million pupils were enrolled in primary education

For more information

Opening speech of Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs at the Brussels Global Partnership for Education Pledging Conference:

Feature “Hands up who has a textbook?”

Case study: Myanmar – Greater access to a basic education

Website of President of the Commission José Manuel Barroso

Website of the European Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs:

Website of EuropeAid Development and Cooperation DG:

For more on the Global Partnership for Education:

Contacts :

Alexandre Polack (+32 2 299 06 77)

Maria Sanchez Aponte (+32 2 298 10 35)

For the public: Europe Direct by phone 00 800 6 7 8 9 10 11 or by e­mail

The original press release can be found on


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