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17 January, 2012
The Ministry of Education, supported by UNICEF, donors and multiple partners is delighted by the confirmation of a new $55.7 million dollar grant to the country’s education sector. In a move that represents a decisive vote of confidence in the quality of the Government of Afghanistan’s plans for the development of the sector - and its capacity to successfully carry out those plans - the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) has recently confirmed its decision to award the multi-year grant to the country
The announcement by the GPE Secretariat is the culmination of months of work led by the Ministry of Education. The process of developing the GPE proposal was marked by an unprecedented combination of efforts among donors and other key stakeholders, and has already brought greater coherence and sense of common purpose to the sector.
President Hamid Karzai, who repeatedly emphasizes the importance of education hailed the development, saying “Education is crucial to ensuring the future peace, stability and prosperity of Afghanistan. Membership in the GPE, and the award of this grant, illustrate the international community’s faith in the Government of Afghanistan’s leadership in this crucial sector.”
The strategy devised by the Ministry of Education will cover a range of initiatives, with a focus on accelerating girls’ attendance at school by working with community leaders, recruiting and training additional female teachers, providing alternative pathways to formal education and ensuring schools are kept safe through the efforts of communities themselves. Minister Wardak advocated on behalf of Afghanistan at a GPE donor conference and Board meeting held in November 2011in Copenhagen, emphasizing, “When a girl is educated, she is less likely to die in childbirth, more likely to send her children to school and is able fully to contribute to the development of her community and of her country. To ensure its future, Afghanistan must maximize the potential of its entire people, including strong, educated and empowered Afghan women.”
Minister Wardak acknowledged the wholehearted support that donor governments and other partners have offered to the Ministry of Education, highlighting in particular the role of the Danish Government which, through the DANIDA representatives at its Embassy in Kabul, serves as GPE Coordinating Agency in Afghanistan, .
The GPE programme will be directly implemented by the Ministry of Education, with UNICEF serving as supervising entity. In this latter role, UNICEF provided technical support to the development of the GPE proposal and when implementation begins will support the government in ensuring the monitoring of activities and fund utilisation. UNICEF Representative in Afghanistan, Peter Crowley, echoed the Minister’s comments on the importance of education, stressing “For the past 60 years UNICEF has worked with government and communities in Afghanistan to help provide children with buildings to learn in, pencils to write with and teachers to learn from.” He further added “All children have the right to education, and UNICEF particularly welcomes the emphasis this government is placing on the education of girls, which is the smartest investment that any country can make and brings the greatest returns.”
The GPE is an international consortium of countries working to provide financial and technical assistance to education programmes in conflict, post-conflict and developing countries. For further information please see: