RESULTS UK welcomed the announcement today of former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard as the new Chair of the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) Board. The Global Partnership for Education is the only multilateral partnership devoted to getting all children in the world’s poorest countries into school and learning.

RESULTS’ Executive Director Aaron Oxley said, “We very much welcome Ms Gillard’s appointment by the Global Partnership for Education. She has proven herself to be a true champion of education, especially for girls and women. Her new role with the Global Partnership for Education comes at a critical moment for education for the world’s poorest”.

Just two weeks ago, UNESCO confirmed that 126 million of the world’s poorest children remain unable to access basic education, especially girls, children with disabilities and children in conflict-affected countries. 250 million more are in school but failing to learn basic skills. UNESCO called this “a global learning crisis”, yet also reported that donor aid to basic education declined in 2011 for the first time since 2002.

The Global Partnership for Education is a unique working partnership of governments, civil society, international organizations, students, teachers, foundations, and the private sector who together help developing countries access critical technical and financial resources, and global and local expertise, to achieve their education goals.

GPE’s partnership model, coordinating stakeholders and vital resources behind nationally-led education plans, has been highlighted by the UN as exactly the kind of new global collaboration needed to deliver ambitious post-2015 goals to end poverty .

With close to 60 partner countries, the Global Partnership has in the last 10 years assisted low income countries to enrol 22 million children in school, construct over 53,000 classrooms, and train more than 300,000 teachers.

The Global Partnership for Education is clearly delivering results, especially for girls’ education and in conflict-affected countries. Take Afghanistan – RESULTS UK met recently with Minister of Education Farooq Wardak who highlighted the crucial progress being made for girls’ education, with GPE supporting the recruitment of female teachers and building community support for schools even in very difficult conditions”, said Mr Oxley.

Ms Gillard’s appointment comes ahead of the Global Partnership for Education’s ‘replenishment’, culminating in a pledging event attended by global leaders in June 2014. The replenishment, for the four years 2015-18, will seek pledges from donors like the UK Government alongside commitments from developing country governments to increase domestic financing for basic education.

Mr Oxley said, “Ms Gillard is just the kind of champion that education needs at this moment of opportunity. We are proud that the UK Government is a world leader in aid to education and is the largest donor to GPE. That support is changing millions of lives because investing in education is the single most effective means of reducing poverty. We urge the UK Government to play a leading role in ensuring the Global Partnership for Education’s replenishment is a success. With support from donors, GPE countries will be able to get millions more children into school for a quality education. This could be a real turning point.