EAC is a program of the Education Above All foundation (EAA). The milestone achievement and target were revealed before a group of international education stakeholders at a plenary session at the World Innovation Summit for Education 2013 attended by Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson and Founder of EAA. Reflecting the need for multi-sectoral collaboration to achieve the goal of ensuring access to a quality education for all, the plenary panel featured leading experts and stakeholders in education, including: Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser; UN Special Envoy for Education Gordon Brown; Director General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova; Executive Director of UNICEF, Tony Lake; UNHCR High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres; Commissioner-General of UNRWA, Mr Filippo Grandi; and German State Secretary of the Federal Ministry for Economic Corporation and Development (BMZ), Hans-Jürgen Beerfeltz.
Commenting on this multi-sectoral approach to support education, Her Highness said: “By bringing the expertise of different partners, we are changing the ecosystem around education and making it sustainable. For instance, in Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya, we are working with organisations that will contribute to the health, employment and energy issues of the camp.”
UNHCR High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres responded: “This cultural shift is one of the most important contributions of EAC. In emergencies, education is as urgent as other life-saving interventions, such as providing food, shelter and vaccination. We can no longer deal only with issues, we need to deal with people. A comprehensive, multi-sectoral approach to needs and rights with education at centre is vital.”
Launched in 2012 with the aim of significantly reducing the estimated 57 million children worldwide who are denied their fundamental right to education, EAC projects reach countries that account for nearly 70 percent of all out of school children. Its focus is on replicating and scaling-up successful quality programmes, promoting innovative approaches and encouraging collaboration, to ensure the best outcomes for children and their communities.
The financing gap for education in low-income countries amounts to $26 billion per year according to 2011 OECD figures. To address this, EAA is developing a global resource mobilisation model.
Commenting on the need for increased resources for education, Her Highness said:
“We need to tap into new sources of funding, from philanthropists to governments. We need all sectors to understand the importance of education, not only as a human right, but as an economic imperative. One additional year of schooling increasing a child’s potential future earnings by up to 10 percent. So investing in education is an investment in the greatest resources – human resources.”
Filippo Grandi of UNRWA announced during the plenary the signing of an agreement with Education Above All to provide emergency education to 67,000 Palestinian refugee children affected by the conflict in Syria. Hans-Jürgen Beerfeltz, representing Germany’s donor agency also announced a strategic partnership with EAA.
President of the International Committee of the Red Cross, joined the panel virtually announcing a commitment by the Red Cross to support education and children under threat in conflict zones by helping to rebuild schools, providing psychosocial treatment for children and by providing space for families and children so that even in the most difficult circumstances they can continue their education.