Canada Champions Education for Children in Fragile and Conflict-Affected Countries

Emphasis on strengthening access to quality education and providing safe learning environments

February, 27, 2014 - Ottawa, Ontario - Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada

During a panel discussion co-hosted by Aga Khan Foundation Canada and the Global Partnership for Education, Lois Brown, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Development, the Honourable Christian Paradis, emphasized today that Canada, working with its experienced partners, is ensuring that children, especially girls, have access to quality education and safe places to learn, play and grow. 

“Canada recognizes that education is crucial to improving the future of children and youth, especially for those who are living in difficult circumstances,” said PS Brown. “Access to quality education has a life-saving and life-changing impact, and can play a role in accelerating progress in fragile states.”

Close to 200 humanitarian, development and education specialists participated in ‘Education at the Margins: Reaching Children in Fragile and Conflict-Affected States’, a panel discussion focused on how to best support education in conflict-affected and fragile states. More than half of the 57 million children who are not attending school live in such countries. 

“Education provides hope for millions of people trying to overcome the detrimental effects of conflict and to improve their quality of life,” said Khalil Z. Shariff, Chief Executive Officer, Aga Khan Foundation Canada. “But physical buildings alone do not provide a solution. Quality education—from pre-primary through to university—requires knowledgeable teachers, community support and government commitment.  Aga Khan Foundation Canada, working with the Government of Canada, is transforming the lives of vulnerable children through its education programming.”

“The Global Partnership for Education is uniquely suited to have an impact in fragile and conflict-affected states,” said Alice Albright, Chief Executive Officer, Global Partnership for Education. “In 2013, nearly 50 percent of our funding went to fragile countries and those affected by conflict.”

“The Government of Canada is an important member of the Global Partnership for Education and is active on its Board of Directors and technical committees. We are looking forward to continuing our productive cooperation with Canada. Education is the cornerstone for success in most endeavours to improve health, lower child mortality rates, strengthen civil society, and defuse conflict. Without it, gains in economic opportunity and the eradication of inequalities are elusive.”

 “In conflict-affected and fragile states, education provides an important safe space, a sense of normalcy for children, a forum for reconciliation and peace, as well as hope for the future,” said David Morley, President and Chief Executive Officer, UNICEF Canada. “Canada has been a committed partner in education and we look forward to continuing our work together to ensure all children, especially those that are hardest to reach, have access to quality education.”

Quick Facts

  • Canada is improving access to quality basic education and providing safe learning environments for children living in conflict-affected and fragile states such as Afghanistan, Syria, Haiti, Mali and Pakistan.
  • Canada supports education in fragile states through the Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE), the lead international network in this field.
  • Canada partners with the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), which works in 28 fragile states. Since 2008, Canada has contributed $106.4 million to the GPE, helping to ensure that all children to receive quality education and can grow up better able to contribute to their nation’s security, prosperity and sustainable development.
  • Canada has committed $50 million for education and child protection activities in support of the ‘No Lost Generation’ campaign, an initiative led by UNICEF and various non-governmental organizations to protect the future of children affected by the Syrian crisis.
  • Education remains one of Canada’s largest sectors of investment in Afghanistan. Canada’s education efforts in Afghanistan have contributed to a dramatic increase in the number of girls enrolled in schools across the country, and have contributed to peace and security in the country.
  • Canada, in partnership with the Aga Khan Foundation Canada, is strengthening pre-primary and primary education systems in East Africa, and is supporting girls’ education in Afghanistan, strengthening teacher training and education in Pakistan, and improving learning outcomes for disadvantaged children in India.

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Margaux Stastny
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of International Development and Minister for La Francophonie

Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada
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