#OneBillionVoicesForEducation: GCE Global Action Week for Education (GAWE) 2021 Press Release

A week of action to demand More and Better Financing for Education!

April 26-30 2021

Attention: All Media Houses

For immediate release

The Global Campaign for Education (GCE) Global Action Week for Education (GAWE) 2021

#GAWE2021 #OneBillionVoicesForEducation

Never has the Universal Human Right to Education been in such a danger. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the education of more than one billion people across the world. It is also worsening the existing global education financing crisis thereby impacting the progress of the entire Sustainable Development Agenda and specifically Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4).

“Now, more than ever, we are reminded of the importance of our goal; a free and accessible education for all. This year the Global Action Week for Education is facing many challenges, but also important and crucial issues.” said Refat Sabbah, GCE President.

“During these uncertain times the fear of inability in achieving the SDG4 goal and reaching a huge learning-loss has increased tremendously, fearing that the poor and marginalised will be paying the price. Along with this comes the fear of a set-back in our work in increasing funding for education. But in the darkness of these fears comes the light of the community. The power and strength of our unified work towards a better future. Towards an equal, inclusive, free and accessible education for all children and adults, for life”.

GAWE 2021 will see the world’s largest civil society movement for the right to education come together to demand more and better financing for education to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. Led by GCE members and partners in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Arab region, the 2021 edition is being organised as a high intensity advocacy space, in which civil society organisations around the world call for urgent action for education.

A Week of Action!

Each day of GAWE 2021 will see a different regional policy dialogue, focused on education financing but with a regional lens. On the last day, GAWE will culminate in a high-level global event on education financing, focused on mobilising towards Global Partnership for Education (GPE) replenishment, G20 and G7.

The following activities will take place:

Monday April 26– Asia Pacific Regional Dialogue on Education Financing: Global Action Week for Education 2021 led by the Asia South Pacific Association for Basic and Adult Education (ASPBAE). “Protect Education Budgets: reach the most marginalised”. Facebook Live Stream from 13:00 Manila time (GMT+8)/ 07:00 SAST: http://bit.ly/ASPBAEDialogue

Tuesday April 27-Arab Region Broadcast focused on debt and education financing hosted by the Arab Campaign for Education for All (ACEA): “National Open Wave for Financing Education” Facebook Live Stream from 8:00 -13:00 GMT/10:00 – 15:00 SAST: https://web.facebook.com/ACEAorg/

Wednesday April 28-Latin America Regional Policy Dialogue with a focus on privatisation led by Campaña Latinoamericana por el Derecho a la Educación (CLADE). “Alerts in times of Covid-19: faces of educational privatization in Latin America and the Caribbean” Live streaming on Facebook from 12:00 – 13:30 Brazil time (GMT-3)/ 17:00 – 18:30 SAST @redclade & Youtube @CLADE or on Zoom: https://bit.ly/3apGBUe

Thursday April 29-Africa Regional Policy Dialogue focused on inclusion hosted by the African Campaign Network for Education for All (ANCEFA). “Increased Domestic financing for strong public, inclusive and resilient education systems in Africa during and post COVID 19”. Followed by the launch of a new report: “One Billion Voices: How Africa can lead in education in a post-COVID world”. The event will start at 8:00 EST / 13:00 GMT / 15:00 SAST. Zoom Link: http://bit.ly/ANCEFADialogue

Friday April 30, A Global culmination day with a high-level global policy dialogue on mobilising education financing, in partnership with the Global Partnership for Education. “Raise your hand for more and better education financing”. The event will start 9:00 EST / 14:00 GMT / 16:00 SAST Click here to register: http://bit.ly/GAWERaiseYourHand

National level action

National coalitions around the world will be undertaking advocacy and campaign activities, aligned with the theme of more and better financing, throughout the week. Some highlights include:

  • Political statements on education financing being developed and delivered to all political parties in Japan and Albania.
  • The launch of a national One Billion Voices campaign in Columbia.
  • Youth action for One Billion Voices in Spain.
  • A twitter chat on education financing on April 28 and a youth Instagram takeover on April 27th
  • The launch of a new Africa domestic financing report.
  • Policy statements and education financing workshops in Jordan, Morocco and Guatemala.
Elevating the voices of the billion learners affected

Through the One Billion Voices for Education campaign with which GAWE 2021 is aligned, voices from the billion learners whose education has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic have started to emerge. The stories highlight not only the multi-layered devastating impact of the pandemic on learners, parents and the teaching profession, but also revealing and deepening inequalities, exclusions and discriminations that existed before the pandemic. Here are a few of theses stories:

In Egypt, 8-year-old Muhammad refuses to let COVID- 19 take away his dream of becoming a researcher in mathematics. He practices at home the arithmetic games he learnt in school and shares them with his village friends.

In Peru, in the small community of Mancura, in the Pomacanchi district, Maritza, dreams of her daughter attending university and reaching professional opportunities. When school closed, and even though she received little education herself, she taught her daughter every day at home.

In Somalia, Shamarke and Zakariye respectively 13 and 14 years old used to live on the streets of Mogadishu. For them, school was the only safe space. After the prolonged school closures which had a devastating impact on the enrollment rates of children in Somalia, they are urging all children to go back to school.

In Romania, Ionut has fallen behind because a difficult family situation is repeating 4th grade. He had decided to study hard & catch up with his classmates this year, but schools closed for months & he had no access to online teaching.

In Senegal, Anna’s fruit juice business collapsed when the pandemic hit. As a result, she was no longer able to afford her daughter’s school fees and the school refused to issue a report card. Without this report card, her daughter’s registration in high school is compromised.

Education is a universal human right and must be guaranteed to all people in all contexts, including sanitary emergencies. Challenges highlighted in these stories can only be addressed with more and better public financing for education.

“COVID19 has exacerbated the already existing inequalities in many of our communities and countries, leaving the marginalised heavily exposed to the negative elements of the pandemic. But governments around the world and the international community have the opportunity to start addressing these inequalities by ensuring that education is adequately financed. Grant Kasowanjete, GCE Global Coordinator.

The Global Campaign for Education recalls that national budgeting for Education require four central obligations:

  1. Increasing the Share of budgets for education,
  2. Increasing the Size of budgets overall,
  3. Increasing the Sensitivity of budgets in order to respond to the most marginalised and;
  4. Increasing the Scrutiny of budgets, so governments are accountable to people.

In addition, in-line with the policy framing of the One Billion Voices for Education campaign, the GAWE 2021 calls on States and the International Community to:

  1. Increase state funding for education to 20% of public expenditure.
  2. Increase their tax base in order to increase resources, working towards a minimum tax-to-GDP ratio of 20%.
  3. Enable urgent debt cancellation for the least developed countries; and Debt alleviation for middle and upper-middle-income countries.
  4. Ensure inclusive education systems through equitable financing and programmes that prioritises the most marginalised.
  5. Provide free quality education for all and end the trend towards the privatisation and commercialisation of education.
  6. Improve the quality of teaching through adequate recruitment, remuneration and continued teacher training.
  7. Listen and respond to the voices of those affected. Space must be allowed for individuals and civil society to speak up.
  8. Developed countries must continue to work towards the goal of 0.7% overseas aid, with 20% of this spent on education, and increasing their contributions to the Global Partnership for Education and Education Cannot Wait.

For more information, contact: Global Campaign for Education (GCE) Communications Officer: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. +27 11 447 4111

Notes to editors:
  1. GCE is a leading civil society movement that promotes and defends education as a fundamental human right. GCE has over 127 members, 94 of these are national education coalitions, 18 International NGOs and 15 regional networks and youth-led organisations. GCE advocates for education as a basic right. GCE defines education as the foundation for all forms of development and as a catalyst for growth. As a transnational organisation GCE believes that education is the key to ensuring sustainable and equitable economic growth, improved health and social development
  2. GAWE 2021 Policy Statement.
  3. One Billion Voices Campaign Call to Action.
  4. GAWE 2021 Social Media Toolkit.
  5. One Billion Voices for Education Stories
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The Global Campaign for Education (GCE) is a civil society movement that aims to end exclusion in education. Education is a basic human right, and our mission is to make sure that governments act now to deliver the right of everyone to a free, quality, public education.