Yesterday, during a session of the Doha Forum, speakers underlined that education was a basic human right that should be provided to every child without discrimination. They urged the international community to do more to ensure access to quality education, especially for girls.
The panelist said that depriving a child of education has consequences on the development of the community and on the economy of a country.
The roundtable on “Bold Goals: Making Them Work on the Ground” brought together the Chair of the Board of the Global Partnership for Education and the former President of Tanzania, HE Jakaya Kikwete; activist and Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai; Managing Director of the Qatar Fund for Development, HE Khalifa Jassim Al Kuwari; and the Executive Director of Unicef, HE Catherine Russell. Safeena Husain, Board Member of Educate Girls, India, moderated the event.
Kikwete said the biggest challenge in providing education to every child is that too many children are out of school. “Our ambition in the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) is to provide quality education to every child. It sounds simple, but it is not easy because too many children are out of school and girls are in the majority,” said Kikwete.
“GPE is committed to bringing quality education to the most marginalized children. When we started 20 years ago, we partnered with seven low-income countries; today, GPE works with 76 countries. He said 160 million more children have been in school since GPE’s inception, more than half of them girls. Malala Yousafzai said the world is losing so much by not investing enough in girls’ education.
“Today, millions of girls are out of school. The vision of the Malala Fund for Girls’ Education is to get all girls into school. Girls everywhere should have access to quality education.
She said that learning is one of the fundamental human rights of girls, which enables them to participate in the development of society. “The loss is not only for the girls, but also for the economy, the country and the community. Girls’ education improves the economy and reduces poverty.
The Pakistani Nobel laureate said providing quality education to girls is a bold goal that requires partnership with local organizations and community activists.
“Malala Fund supports activists in more than nine countries who conduct research, lobby for policy changes and focus on issues that impact girls’ education, and train teachers and develop curricula,” Yousafzai said.
Meanwhile, Khalifa Jassim Al Kuwari said education is part of the culture of Qatar and is provided to every child without discrimination. “Education, especially girls’ education, has had a positive impact on labor supply in Qatar. I am very proud to say that the QFFD staff are 85% women.
He said quality education is a top priority in Qatar’s politics. “We not only provide school education, but also higher education for girls.” He noted that many scholarships are given to students, including girls, allowing them to pursue their higher education in Qatar and abroad. “Education and quality education should be available to every child,” Al Kuwari added.
Catherine Russell said COVID-19 has exacerbated the challenge of providing quality education to children. She said the number of children unable to read and understand very simple sentences had increased from pre-pandemic levels, which she said “indicates that everything we are doing is not working very well. We really think about working together to make a better world for our children.