EDUCATION

President Kagame to world leaders: Gains in education should not be eroded by Covid-19

President Paul Kagame was speaking at the summit where world leaders and other stakeholders in the education sector gathered virtually and in person for two days to discuss crucial opportunities to make a dent in the global learning crisis.

KIGALI — President Paul Kagame on Thursday July 29 called on participants at the Global Education Summit to work together to ensure that gains made in providing access and quality education especially in Africa are not reversed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Kagame was speaking at the summit where world leaders and other stakeholders in the education sector gathered virtually and in person for two days to discuss crucial opportunities to make a dent in the global learning crisis.

The Summit hopes to raise $5bn to support education in some of the world’s poorest countries.

Co-hosted by the United Kingdom and Kenya, the summit seeks to raise funds for the next five years, creating an extra 88 million school places and supporting the learning of 175 million children.

Kagame pointed out that although there is still work that needs to be done, Rwanda has so far worked hard to reach the 20 percent target of education expenditure including building more than 22,500 classrooms in the last one year.

“This serves as a good foundation to do more and indeed much more is required of all of us, for example increasing spending efficiency alongside locating high amounts to education will ensure that all children are better prepared to lead more productive and fulfilled lives,” he said.

He emphasised that globally there is still a need to triple current spending in education to reach the sustainable goals target.

He reminded the participants that investing more in education is one of the fastest ways to help countries all over the world to grow their economies and accelerate development.

The Head of State pledged Rwanda’s commitment towards continuing to work with global partnership for education and regional partners towards the best learning outcomes.

Pandemic woes

The pandemic has worsened the problems already faced by schools in poorer countries, with many fearing that children who were forced out of school due to Covid-19 might never return.

The Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations, Amina J. Mohammed highlighted that a year ago, more than 90 percent of the global students; 1.6 billion young people were out of school.

She cautioned that while some 156 million students are still affected by closures, nearly 25 million may never return, calling for the world to come together and contribute towards changing this.

“Education is central to the 2030 agenda as a human right, a global public good and a bedrock of a more inclusive, resilient and sustainable society. An effective recovery from the pandemic requires investment in teachers, digital learning and systems that are fit for the future,” she said.

Pakistani Nobel prize winner Malala Yousafzai who campaigns for female education told the summit of the importance of investing in education, particularly for girls who don’t have opportunities “just because of their gender”.

She said the recovery from the pandemic had to mean fair access to education.

“The world is facing a girls’ education crisis with more than 130 million girls missing out on school around the world, has warned. Their futures are worth fighting for,” she said

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