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Canada delivers on global education

UNICEF | Pierre Holtz

Over six months after Malala Yousafzai called on Canada to put more funding towards the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), the Canadian government decided to double its contribution.

Canada will commit 120 million dollars to GPE, which is an international organization made up of governments, non-profits, companies and other organizations dedicated to ending educational inequalities around the world. They’ve already allocated $4.3 billion to reforming education over the last ten years, and Canada’s recent announcement is a huge step towards bringing children in developing countries the educational opportunities that everyone deserves.

This news of Canada’s commitment is incredible, but not sudden. Malala made this powerful call to action at last year’s Global Citizen Festival, specifically asking Canada to take the reigns:

It took many months of negotiation and deliberation within the GPE and the Canadian government for this announcement to come through. Commitments like this are no simple feat, and even with the huge push from global citizens last September, it took a lot of time and effort in the aftermath to make Malala’s call for action a reality.

The payoff is amazing, and global citizens should be proud that their voices helped turn an idea into a solid commitment. From celebrities to concert attendees, to those acting online, everyone who showed their support for this was important in making it happen.

In addition to doubling funding towards GPE, Canada has also committed 10 million dollars for UNICEF to support the education of children in crises. In states of conflict, violence and disaster, it’s often difficult for children to get to school, let alone achieve academic success. By allocating money to children in fragile contexts specifically, Canada is taking a crucial step for global education in the parts of the world that are hardest to reach.

Even with these developments, there is still more to be done in order to fully close the education gaps that persist. In order for children to explore and reach their potential, education needs to be prioritized globally by governments, organizations and even companies. Universal access to education means people everywhere can lead healthier lives, full of greater opportunities. In this critical year for development, global citizens need to unlock their power to achieve this goal.

Malala agrees. She applauded Canada’s actions, but recognizes the work that remains. Now, she “calls on other governments to consider how they can support more young people to get the education they hope for and deserve. More commitments and contributions are needed if we are to realize a world where all young people - including girls who often miss out the most - are able to access 12 years of quality education for free.”