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Education For All Fast Track Initiative

Volume 405: debated on Thursday 15 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what resources her Department has allocated to expand the Education for All Fast Track Initiative to enable all low-income countries with sound education plans to receive full donor support. [112726]

Our approach to the Fast Track Initiative is to ensure that it focuses on encouraging Governments with large numbers of children out of schools to develop credible education plans that will enable them to achieve the aim of universal primary education. We have successfully pressed for the inclusion of those countries with the most children out of school—like India (with 30 million children out of school), Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo. A working group of which DFID is a member has been established to take this forward. In countries where we are engaged, we will consider increasing our support in the context of their PRSP and Medium-Term Expenditure Framework. We will continue to engage with the Fast: Track Initiative at all levels but do not envisage diverting existing anticipated commitments in order to support specific Fast Track Initiative proposals.

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development when the UK Government will follow up on commitments made at the IMF and World bank spring meetings on the Education for all Fast Track Initiative; and if she will make a statement. [112187]

The continuing progress that is being made on the Fast Track Initiative was welcomed at the IMF and World bank spring meetings. Our approach to the Fast Track Initiative is to shape it to focus on encouraging governments with large numbers of children out of schools put the policies and plans in place that will enable them to achieve the aim of universal primary education. We have successfully pressed for the inclusion of those countries with the most children out of school—like India (with 30 million children out of school), Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo. A working group of which my Department is a member has been established to take this forward. The key challenge for the working group would be to encourage the countries concerned to commit themselves to making progress and to provide the necessary support and technical resources to develop costed credible education plans within the context of an overall PRSP.