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Minister Costello reaffirms Ireland's commitment to education in global development

Irish Aid, Press Releases, Ireland, 2013

There are now 40 million more children in school globally than a decade ago, Minister for Trade and Development Joe Costello, T.D., today told a Conference on Education and Development in Brussels.

Welcoming this progress, Minister Costello said we must now strive to improve the quality of education in poor countries and make education central to the new global development framework which will replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) after 2015.

Also speaking at the conference today are former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, now UN Special Envoy for Global Education, and Catherine Ashton, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

Minister Costello said:

“Ireland is very committed to improving education in the developing world: we spend almost one-tenth of our bilateral aid on education, focussing on working with governments to train teachers, develop curricula and increase the numbers of girls going to school. Globally, there has been impressive progress in increasing access to education in low income countries over the last decade, with 40 million more children now in school. However much of this progress has been unequal across countries and within countries and there has not been enough of a focus on the quality of education provided or on addressing the obstacles which prevent children going to school.

“The quality of learning also remains a great concern in many countries. An estimated 250 million children currently enrolled in primary school either fail to reach grade four or lack basic reading and numeracy skills by that grade. And more than 775 million adults are illiterate.

Ireland’s new Policy for International Development: One World, One Future, focuses on improving access to quality education in the poorest regions of the world. Irish Aid works with ministries of education in partner countries, civil society organisations and the Global Partnership for Education to expand access to quality education. Through working with partner countries we will continue to work towards the provision of a quality education for all.”