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Primary Education

Volume 405: debated on Friday 16 May 2003

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To ask the Minister of State for International Development what resources his Department has allocated to ensure that all children have the opportunity to complete primary education; and what recent discussions he has had with her G8 counterparts on (a) pooling and (b) increasing the resources dedicated to this aim. [112727]

Between 2002 and 2007 we intend to spend £1.3 billion on basic education, subject to agreeing high quality programmes with our partners. Of this, about £500 million will go to Africa and £800 millon to Asia. This figure of £1.3 billion compares favourably with the £700 million committed to Universal Primary Education since 1997.However, it is important to realise that achieving Universal Primary Education is not an issue that simply requires the provision of more aid. Most of the countries with large numbers of children out of school are not seriously committed to Universal Primary Education. Most countries that are committed to reprioritising their own spending are receiving additional aid.

There is broad consensus among international agencies that greater harmonisation of resources will increase aid effectiveness. We continue to underline the central importance of ensuring that strengthened efforts support country-owned strategies, as set out for low-income countries in Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs) and linked to national budget processes. We will work with G8 to ensure that they increase support and resources to meet the education MDGs.