The Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of International Development and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada, today issued the following statement:
“Every child has a gift to offer this world and we need to invest in them early so they can reach their full potential. For the most marginalized children, especially girls, we need to ask what they could achieve if given the opportunity that comes from a safe, high-quality education. Prosperity, health and well-being all start with education. All children and young people deserve the opportunity to achieve their dreams.
“This is why Canada is committed to ensuring that no child is left behind, regardless of their gender, background or abilities. The education of women and girls is a particular priority for Canada because improving girls’ and women’s futures helps build the foundation for a better world for all. The G7 recently called for 40 million more girls to start attending school and 20 million more girls to be able to read by the age of 10.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has caused the greatest disruption to global education in history. All across the world, 1.6 billion children have been affected by school closures; this is in addition to the millions of children who were already not attending school. The Malala Fund estimates that as many as 20 million girls around the world—more than half the total population of Canada—will not return to school. In addition, the increasing number of crises and conflicts worldwide pose a significant threat to educating children, especially girls.
“The theme of this year’s International Day of Education is Changing Course, Transforming Education. Canada has committed $78.9 million in new emergency funding to education programming. These funds will help deliver quality education to children in developing countries during the pandemic and in the future.
“In addition, Canada is focusing on ensuring that the world’s most marginalized children, including refugee and displaced children, have access to quality education. Canada’s Together for Learning campaign aims to ensure that all refugee and displaced children receive an education. The campaign builds on Canada’s 2018 pledge of $400 million as part of the Charlevoix Declaration on Quality Education for Girls, Adolescent Girls and Women in Developing Countries.”