I beg to move,
That this House has considered the First Report of the International Development Committee, DfID’s work on education: Leaving no-one behind?, HC 367, and the Government response, HC 914.
It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship this afternoon, Sir Graham. I first draw the House’s attention to two relevant entries in the Register of Members’ Financial Interests: last August I visited Liberia with RESULTS UK to look at health and education work there, and in 2015 I visited Jordan with Oxfam. I am also chair of the all-party parliamentary group on global education for all.
In November last year, the International Development Committee released our first report of this Parliament, on global education. Since then, the Department for International Development has published its education policy refresh and responded to our report. The bulk of the evidence gathering for the inquiry was undertaken by our predecessor Committee in the 2015 to 2017 Parliament, but the new Committee agreed to resume and conclude that inquiry. I thank members of both the current and predecessor Committees, and I particularly thank those who gave evidence to our inquiry. I especially express appreciation to the Send My Friend to School campaign for its excellent work. Send My Friend has had a real impact, engaging young people in this country in solidarity with children and young people around the world.
Education is, of course, one of the key pillars of development. The right to education is at the heart of the United Nations universal declaration of human rights and at the core of the sustainable development goals. It can indeed be the silver bullet, with the potential, alongside other measures, to reduce poverty, increase economic growth, significantly improve public health and even contribute to peace and security. That is why it is right that DFID should spend a significant proportion of its budget on education.
Since 2000 we have seen great global progress on education. The millennium development goals set an ambitious aim of achieving universal primary education by 2015. That target was not fully met; nevertheless, significant progress has been made. We saw, for example, a 50% reduction in the number of primary-age children out of school, a significant increase in global literacy rates and more girls in the poorest countries entering education than ever before.
Even with that progress, the statistics on those not in school remain staggering: 263 million children around the world are not in school and another 330 million are in school but judged not to be learning the basics. If we are to eliminate poverty, let alone tackle the challenge of inequality around the world, that needs to change. Of course, a child attending school does not on its own equate to learning, and as such the quality of education is just as important as access to places in schools.
We know that often, children arrive unprepared for school, teachers lack the skills, motivation or proper levels of remuneration required for teaching, and there is poor management and governance, all of which can undermine the quality of education available to children and young people. The driver behind the millennium development goals was to get students into school, but they did not specifically address the quality of education that those children would receive once they were there. Equity between groups needs to be addressed and, once in school, children surely need to be taught both the basics and the transferable skills needed for the modern world, including the jobs and economy of the future.
To help combat those problems, the Committee reached the conclusion that the UK needs to invest more of its education funding in early years and technical education. The benefits of pre-primary education for later learning are well proven, and there is a real appetite amongst those who work in this area to do more. In its response, the Department committed to reviewing the effectiveness of its current spending on early years education this year. When she responds, I ask the Minister to update the House on the timescale for that review.
In 2015, the UN agreed the sustainable development goals. SDG 4 has a broad remit and commits the nations of the world to improving access to and quality and equity in education. We know that to do so will require a huge leap of progress, which is achievable only with a combination of political will, strong and inclusive systems of education and long-term, sustainable funding. The global context is hugely challenging. Population displacement as a consequence of conflict or of climate change and other natural events is widespread. It is in that context that the Committee decided to look at DFID’s work on education.
I start with the crucial issue of funding. Globally, education funding remains substantially below the target level required to come close to meeting the ambitions of SDG 4. It has been estimated that the annual financing gap over the period of the global goals is about $39 billion. That is the additional amount we need to spend to reach universality in pre-primary, primary and secondary education with good quality. We have seen DFID’s funding for education fall since 2011. In 2011, the percentage of the UK’s total official development assistance spent on education was above 10%. By 2015, that had fallen to just above 7%. I understand that that was an exceptionally low figure, and I will be grateful if the Minister can give us a figure for the percentage of the UK’s total ODA spend on education in 2016, even if that is an estimate. My assumption, from the research I have done, is that the figure is probably now around 9% to 10%.
The Committee took evidence from the Malala Fund and the Global Campaign for Education, which said that the UK should be doing much more and should commit to allocating at least 15% of UK aid to education. The Committee concluded that we would like to see the amount of UK overseas development assistance going to education increase over the course of the next spending review. We commend DFID for striving to improve the value for money of what it spends on education, but we reached the conclusion that alongside that proper focus on value for money, we need additional total spending as well.
In the Government’s response, DFID said:
“The precise level of spending on education through country programmes will be determined by country offices as they consider development needs and opportunities locally.”
I invite the Minister to ensure that country offices give education the high priority it surely deserves. In response to the Committee’s recommendation that DFID should support the international finance facility for education, the Department stated that it is “considering its feasibility”, but is
“not yet in a position to support the proposal.”
Can the Minister outline when the Department might be able to reach a decision and, we hope, give support to that new financing facility on education?
Of course, DFID provides a lot of its education funding via multilaterals, most notably the Global Partnership for Education, which was established in 2002 with the aim of strengthening education systems in the poorest and middle-income countries. GPE works directly with Education Ministries in those countries to implement, monitor and evaluate their education work. Uniquely, GPE asks countries for a commitment from their Governments to increase the amount that they spend on education in return for the funding that it gives. The recent replenishment conference in Senegal in February saw 50 countries commit, as part of this, to increasing their domestic public expenditure on education. That is very positive and is to be welcomed.
The Committee recommended that the UK should agree to the full amount that GPE requested from the United Kingdom for that replenishment, which was £300 million over three years. We also said that, if the UK was to have a cap on its contribution, it should be announced early as a tool to encourage other donors to commit generously to the fund. In the event, DFID pledged significantly less than we requested—£225 million over three years. It is welcome that the United Kingdom remains a major funder of GPE, but I am disappointed that a more generous pledge was not made, and certainly that it was not made at an earlier stage.
The aim of SDG 4.5 is to
“eliminate gender disparities in education and ensure equal access to all levels of education and vocational training”.
We know that girls are far more likely than boys to be excluded from education in the poorest countries. It is often said in the development world, “If you educate a woman, you educate a nation”. That is supported by evidence. According to UNICEF, educating girls has a multiplier effect and brings a litany of other benefits in areas such as health. DFID has a positive story to tell when it comes to girls’ education. The Girls’ Education Challenge, launched in 2012, is a positive, innovative programme with the aim of getting the most marginalised girls into school. It has so far given around £300 million to projects in 18 different countries.
The evidence we received about the programme was overwhelmingly positive, and the Committee’s message is that DFID should continue to be at the forefront of such programmes to ensure girls’ and young women’s access to education. I know that the Department is currently reviewing the GEC. In the light of an Independent Commission on Aid Impact report, we recommended that the Department should certainly seek to fund programmes in the second stage of the GEC, particularly focusing on reducing the drop-out rate at key transition points in girls’ education.
We also know that disabled children face huge barriers to education, in our own country as well as globally. According to the World Bank, around 15% of the global population experience some form of disability. Analysis by the Education Commission estimated that around half of all disabled children in low and middle-income countries are not in school at all. As Julia McGeown from Humanity and Inclusion told us:
“Disability is the biggest reason why children are out of school.”
As I have said, DFID has already shown leadership on education for girls and young women. It is now surely time for DFID to show the same leadership on the needs of disabled children.
According to much of the evidence we received, we have seen real progress as a result of the Department’s disability framework, which was recommended by our predecessor Committee in the 2010-15 Parliament. However, more now needs to be done to ensure that it is implemented right across the Department’s programmes and is integral to all aid, including that administered by other Government Departments.
When our predecessor Committee visited Kenya as part of this inquiry, we were impressed by the GEC project run by Leonard Cheshire Disability in Kisumu. The programme worked with disabled girls and, indeed, some boys, and there is a strong argument for the Department to look at that programme and to look at how it could be extended in Kenya and in other parts of the world. In particular, while we entirely understood the focus on disabled girls, one message we got from parents that we met, and also from some of the headteachers, was that they would like the Department to look at a similar programme for disabled boys.
In responding to the Committee’s recommendations on improving access to education, DFID states that it is looking to deepen international engagement in this area. Will the Minister set out in her response how we can use the upcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting here in London in April, and also the very welcome disability summit in July, to encourage this crucial international engagement? I ask her to particularly address the potential for the disability summit to be an opportunity for the UK to set out much more fully how we will support education for disabled children and young people in the longer term.
By 2030, the share of the extreme poor living in conflict-affected countries is expected to rise to more than 60%. We know that the number of displaced people has grown extraordinarily in the last two decades. In 1997, 34 million people—a very large figure—lived as displaced people, either as refugees or internally. That figure has almost doubled since, with 66 million people living as displaced people in 2016, about a third of which are refugees and two thirds of which are internally displaced. That is more than the population of the United Kingdom living as displaced people around the world.
Our predecessor Committee saw evidence of that when we visited Jordan and Lebanon as part of the inquiry. We witnessed at first hand the extraordinary support DFID has given to the Governments there, but we also saw and welcomed the remarkable hospitality of the Governments and peoples of those two countries in response to those who had fled conflict in neighbouring Syria. That work on education for Syrian refugees has made a real, life-saving difference to a whole generation of Syrian children who had to flee not only their homes but their country.
While we were in Jordan, we also visited a very impressive school run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian children. At a time when the US Administration is threatening to cut its financial support for UNRWA, does the Minister agree that it is vital that we and other donors step in to ensure that UNRWA’s remarkable and important work with Palestinian children is able to continue? We also visited Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. Migration flows in that part of Africa are very high because of conflicts in South Sudan, the Congo and elsewhere.
We know that more than half of the world’s registered refugees of school age are not in school. The funding for education during humanitarian emergencies is not always readily available; less than 2% of all humanitarian funding goes towards education in emergencies. As conflicts become longer and more protracted, surely it is vital that the international community provides the funds and infrastructure for students to continue to get an education while they are displaced. Children caught up in crises should surely not be denied that basic right to an education. During the Committee’s recent visit to Bangladesh, we had the opportunity to visit a child-friendly space in the sprawling Cox’s Bazar refugee camp. Much more needs to be done there to ensure that Rohingya children get access to even the most basic of education during this crisis.
DFID played a leading role in establishing the Education Cannot Wait fund. The fund has attracted considerable financial support, about a third of which has come from this country, which is surely very welcome. It is all about seeking to help children living in emergencies, clearly through no fault of their own.
One aspect that I want to focus on before I finish is the importance of the school as a safe haven for children to learn even during conflict. A quarter of a billion children—some 246 million—are affected by violence each year, with an average of 15 life-threatening attacks on education establishments every single day. Too many children face the threat of their school being bombed or attacked by military or armed groups, and children in conflict-affected states have much higher drop-out and absence rates than elsewhere.
We know, for example, that Nigeria has the highest number of out-of-school primary age children in sub-Saharan Africa, despite being one of the better-off countries in that region. One of the reasons for that is the continued attacks on education by Boko Haram. DFID has already taken steps to try to address that by, for example, seeking to ensure that schools are protected during conflicts and rebuilt afterwards. However, the UK can further take the lead on that if we sign up to the safe schools declaration, which outlines the positive and protective role that education can play and aims to prevent attacks on schools and education facilities during conflict.
The declaration has attracted international support from Canada to Côte d’Ivoire and from Afghanistan to France. I hope the Government will soon commit to becoming the 73rd signatory to the agreement. Perhaps the Minister can update the House today on progress towards achieving that.
The sustainable development goals’ focus is on “leaving no one behind”. If we are to translate that aspiration into reality, we need to give much higher priority to investing in global education. I welcome today’s debate as an opportunity both to discuss our report and the Government’s response and also for us to demonstrate once again the very strong cross-party support for achieving the highest possible quality of education for children and young people around the world.
It is a pleasure to see you presiding today, Sir Graham. I am grateful for the opportunity to comment briefly on the International Development Committee’s excellent report, “DFID’s work on education: Leaving no one behind?” It is not possible to criticise the many conclusions and recommendations, focusing as they do on targeting, low-income countries, access, girls, refugees and the rest. Clearly, the overwhelming response from the Department is that it agrees, too. I want to refer to one aspect of education, which I do not see mentioned—the journey to school. I am grateful to Emily Carr from EASST—the Eastern Alliance for Safe and Sustainable Transport—for her briefing. I should mention that EASST is a founding partner of the UK charity Fire Aid, which I chair and which delivers post-crash response aid, among other things, to 30 countries.
Among the UN and World Health Organisation’s sustainable development goals for the next 15 years is a significant reduction in those killed and seriously injured on the world’s roads. At present more than 1 million people die each year and around 20 million are seriously injured. Referring to data from UNICEF, the World Bank, the FIA Foundation, the World Health Organisation and the UN youth declaration for road safety, Emily’s briefing on child casualties demonstrates the carnage that is happening on the world’s roads, especially—but not exclusively—in low-income countries.
The figures are genuinely awful. Every day, 3,000 children and adolescents suffer a road traffic death or serious injury, and 500 children leave for school every day and do not return. Up to 700,000 children under the age of 18 are permanently disabled in road traffic crashes, while millions more experience long-term temporary disability. Children in low and middle-income countries are three times more likely to die in a crash than those in high-income countries, and 95% of such fatalities occur in low and middle-income countries. In the words of UNICEF and the FIA Foundation,
“We have to make our roads safe to learn.”
As part of the safe system, road safety education in schools plays a vital part in tackling the issue. Sadly, there is limited research on the scale, scope or impact of road safety education. Will the Minister consider whether we can look at that gap in our knowledge? The Global Road Safety Partnership strongly recommends road safety education of children worldwide, backed up by the World Bank. I note that page 12 of the Government’s response to recommendation 29 states:
“DFID will continue to develop and grow our education research portfolio...We will be developing large new programmes on critical research gaps.”
The Minister might count road safety education as one of those critical research gaps.
The Select Committee report refers to disability as a barrier to accessing education. It comments that half of all disabled children are out of school and cites UNICEF’s estimate that 90% of disabled children are out of school in some areas. My hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, West Derby (Stephen Twigg), the Chair of the Select Committee, strongly referred to the disability question in his excellent opening contribution.
All the experts agree that road safety education is essential to help cut the horrendous numbers. Such education is neglected, because either it is not on the curriculum or, if it is included, it is not taught. Even where it is taught, lack of teacher training, no high quality resources and age inappropriateness impact on quality and outcomes. Small charities such as EASST help to deliver such training, saving lives as a result.
In its 2015 report, “Ten Strategies for Keeping Children Safe on the Road”, the World Health Organisation states:
“Road traffic death and injury are eminently preventable.”
The countries that have garnered the political will that is needed to address the issue have demonstrated this and in doing so have spared the lives of hundreds of thousands of children and saved their nations countless resources.
Road safety education can play a vital role, giving children the skills and knowledge to minimise risk where possible. I hope the Select Committee in its future endeavours and the Department might be able to keep that forgotten aspect of education in mind. We in the UK have among the safest roads in the world. The Department for Transport road safety brand, THINK!, is well known and respected internationally and can help directly or via charities such as EASST, which deliver the THINK! product.
In conclusion, the essence of the report and the Government’s response are very positive and welcome. Road crashes are the biggest killer of young people in the UK and worldwide. Not only does that not attract the attention I think it deserves, but it does not even get recognised as a mainstream issue. The report and the response rightly recognise the significant role that we play in the world of international development, and all of our political parties should be proud of our collective commitment to 0 .7% of GDP for the world’s poor. Educating the world’s children is a fundamental aim and ambition. Getting them to and from school safely should be regarded as part of that project.
It is a delight to serve under your chairmanship, Sir Graham, for the first time since you became Sir Graham rather than Mr Brady. Congratulations.
I am delighted that one of the focuses of the Department for International Development and in turn our Select Committee is global education—it has carried on over two Parliaments because we feel it is so important. There is one problem with the debate today. Members can speak for almost as long as they like, which means the Chairman of the Committee has said most of what I and everybody else wanted to say, because the Committee agrees pretty much on everything. It is not a party political Committee. We are at one. We sometimes disagree about how to get there, but we agree on what needs to be done.
The previous contribution on road safety was certainly interesting. It is crucial for girls—children—to be able to get to school safely. Not only might they be killed on the road, but that is a vulnerable place for girls going to school because they are often taken aside and raped and abused. That is one reason why many girls do not go to school, so we need to look at how we can continue to help them get to school and overcome such terrible barriers.
Today’s debate is the last before the Easter recess and there are not many Members here. It is not because they do not feel it is important—they do—but not many stay behind for the final Westminster Hall debate before the Easter recess, which is disappointing because the subject is so important.
I passionately believe that education is a fundamental human right, and that it underpins the improvement of lives and eradication of poverty, particularly for girls. We heard earlier that educating a girl improves the whole nation, which has been proved right in many studies. I also concur with the mantra of both DFID and those who drew up the sustainable development goals about leaving no one behind. It has been difficult to achieve that in developing countries, but I believe the whole world has now got it, and we need to make sure that every DFID policy aims to ensure that no one—it does not matter whether it is girls, women, disabled people or able-bodied people—should be left behind. This country could do better in some cases.
As the Committee’s report set out, there is still much work to do on global education, particularly in relation to the aspirations set out in the fourth sustainable development goal of the UN, on educational opportunities. It is of great concern that still, in 2018, 263 million children and young people around the world remain out of school. What is probably even more worrying is the fact that a further 330 million go to school but do not even learn the basics. We need better teacher training, and committed teachers, in many schools in developing countries, particularly in rural areas—it is much more difficult to get women teachers to go to those areas because they feel vulnerable. Perhaps we should look at how to help with teacher training to improve their skills. That would enable teachers to be paid better, because they would be doing a better, more comprehensive job. In some countries, teachers become teachers as soon as they leave school, with little training. That would not be something they chose, but something they had to do because no other jobs were available. That is not the best way to train teachers and improve education.
The report sets out goals and priorities for the coming year. It is clear from that DFID should be congratulated on some areas of its work. The UK is a world leader in international development. Its emphasis on education in developing countries is a key to its success. We know it is a leader around the world because, no matter where the Committee goes, we hear it from NGOs, schools, teachers and hospitals. Wherever it may be, people appreciate the effort and money that DFID puts in, and the degree to which this country cares about improving the lives of people in other countries.
There are, however, still areas in which we can push further, and there is much more work to do on global education. I want to highlight two areas of significance in the report: the education of women and girls, and education in conflict areas, which the Committee Chairman mentioned—I hope I do not repeat too much of what he said.
DFID’s focus on the education of women and girls in developing countries, which is reflected in the report, is a particular interest of mine. I am pleased that DFID continues to lead the way, and to highlight its importance on the national and international stage. Women and girls in developing countries should be to exposed high-quality education for a continued period, and not just primary education. Many countries now claim that they have universal primary education, but one does wonder, as I said, about the quality. We need to remove the barriers against girls continuing into secondary education, university and work training. One challenge is reducing the incidence of drop-out at the transition points in girls’ education. It is heartening that the Government have made it a clear ambition to work with and assist hard-to-reach girls.
A problem for girls in many countries, and particularly in rural areas, is that they do not have sanitary protection, so one week in four they cannot go to school. That is a huge barrier and we should look at how to encourage developing countries to provide girls with sanitary protection so that they can have continued access to education. Some countries provide it. Strangely enough—it sounds dreadful—if girls have sanitary protection, they are less likely to be raped. We can help by encouraging countries to provide girls with sanitary protection.
I am pleased to learn from the response to the Committee’s report that DFID has agreed to continue funding the Girls’ Education Challenge into its second phase. We thought it was an impressive project that showcased the spirit of the Department’s work on women’s and girls’ education in developing countries. The scheme works to ensure that the most marginalised girls have access to quality education. To date, the scheme has been successful and has had a positive impact on the lives of many. Remarkably, it has reached more than 2 million girls in total, including 34,539 girls with disabilities.
The Committee Chairman talked about the Leonard Cheshire school that we visited in Kenya, which was inspirational. It could teach lessons to some schools in this country that deal with disability. The reason it was so impressive was the leadership of the headteacher, without which it could never have been as good. She sends her son to a private school and her attitude was: “I don’t mind paying for my child to go to private school, but why should the children in this school not have exactly the same quality of education that my son receives?” That is commendable and I have never seen a headteacher, in the many schools I have been to, with such a positive attitude to the education that they provide, which in this case is for the most disabled people. We met a girl with severe cerebral palsy who was determined that she would be a human rights lawyer and a champion of disabled people. It can be done.
As part of the Girls’ Education Challenge, 69,782 teachers have been trained, and 4,687 classrooms have been constructed and renovated. In many cases in developing countries, the classrooms are there, but they desperately need renovation because they are in a dire condition. In addition, under the scheme, girls have been provided with resources such as textbooks and have been given bursaries to enable them to study. I am sure Members would agree that that is impressive.
A second area of significance in the report was education in fragile and conflict-affected states. Young people caught up in conflict zones should not be deprived of their education. After all, they are the generation who in future will help to move their countries forward when conflict ends. As we know, children get only one opportunity for education. If they lose even one year because of being in those conflict-affected states, they will never catch up. Many will lose more than one year. Many children coming out of conflict areas such as Syria, and even the internally displaced children, are very stressed. It takes a long time to get them ready to absorb education. They need child-friendly spaces and they need to get through their systems their stress at seeing things none of us should see. They need help, and if we do not concentrate on those children who, because of their situation, have no chance of an education, the countries they come from—and to which they can hopefully return—or go to will be the poorer for it. I appreciate that DFID continues to support the Global Partnership for Education and they are well aligned on the view that there should be a focus on fragile and conflict-affected states, but I appeal to the Government to continue asserting influence in this sphere, as well as providing appropriate funding.
To sum up, I am very proud of the report produced by the Select Committee and reassured that, on the vast majority of global education issues, the Committee is aligned with the Department. Education should be at the heart of all we do. I strongly believe that it should be a continuing focus of DFID’s project work in developing countries. Through education comes innovation, which will eventually help to promote social and economic improvement and assist with the achievement of self-sufficiency. I therefore urge my hon. Friend the Minister to continue with what the Department is doing, and to make it better and even more effective than it is. I thank the Minister for the money that the Department has put into global education, because without it, all those children would be much worse off.
I echo the comments we have heard. As a member of the Select Committee, I was very pleased to be able to support this report. I have to refer to my entry in the Register of Members’ Financial Interests—I, too, attended the RESULTS UK trip to Liberia last year. Liberia is an interesting case study, because of the recent pilot that the Liberian Government have undertaken. They have trialled a number of alternative models of education: one whereby they have used Bridge International Academies, which we touch on in the report; one whereby they use local NGOs as providers; and one whereby they use completely non-profit international NGOs. When we spoke to some of the international NGOs on that trip, I was reassured about their motivation for engaging in those projects, which seemed very clear to me: they were there to help to reform the education system and then hand it back to the Government, with the idea that it should be the Government, in the long run, providing all or the vast majority of education services in-country.
Street Child, which works internationally, added only $50 extra to the $50 provided by the Government, meaning that there was $100 to educate each child. However, Bridge Academies added hundreds of dollars extra to educate each child from external money, meaning that no Government in the developing world would be able to sustain that level of investment if the schools returned to the Government. The report that follows and the outcomes base are interesting because they show that the Street Child education was more inclusive, reached out to more young people and had the same or equivalent outcomes as Bridge Academies. That study means that the Department needs to relook at its involvement with Bridge Academies and other providers and consider value for money. It is one of the first case studies in which we have seen schools running side by side in one country and sometimes in the same city. The Government in Liberia want to move towards a project with the Global Partnership for Education whereby they would directly run the schools. Although we are not a major funder directly to Liberia, we are a funder through the GPE, and we need to look closely at that model and reflect that in our work. I hope the Minister will take it into consideration.
The GPE, whose Senegal replenishment conference I attended with the Secretary of State, requires countries to spend 20% of their tax revenue on education. We do not achieve that domestically, so we are asking developing countries to achieve a very high bar. DFID achieves only about 10%—we hope that that is growing—which poses the question: are we asking others to do something that we do not achieve ourselves, either in the international development budget or in our domestic budget? We need to reflect on that, because power is not just about being a funder and setting the rules, but about leading by example and showing others the way.
On the GPE and replenishment, we recommended in the report that the full amount—$500 million, which is about £300 million—should be invested over the three-year term. I have written to the UK Statistics Authority about the use of Government statistics in this respect. The Government say in their response that there is a 50% increase on their previous contribution. I do not believe that fully reflects the picture. The pledge last time was £300 million over four years, which is £75 million a year. The pledge this time is £225 million over three years, not four, which is £75 million a year. The per-year figure is identical. The Department is right that we did not spend all our pledged money last time, which meant that we spent only about £50 million a year. We might spend the full amount this time, but we cannot compare what we spent to a pledge. One has to compare either a pledge with a pledge where we have maintained the same pledge, or a spend with a spend, in which case we cannot tell what we will spend until after the spending period. We have imposed almost exactly the same conditions in terms of the cap and performance indicators on these pledges as we did last time, which was one reason why we did not fulfil the full cap last time. This time, I hope the GPE manages to meet all our conditions and that it is able to draw down the whole amount.
We have given a very generous amount, and I do not want to take it away from the Department at all that we are the single biggest country donor and the second biggest donor after the EU, to which, of course, we have contributed, in the GPE. We should be very proud of that, but we should be so proud that we do not have to fudge the figures. I would appreciate the Department coming back and saying, “Yes, we understand that for public relations purposes we did this, but the reality is that we are looking for a like-for-like match.”
I also note that, on the same day as the pledge was announced, the Department released its new plan—its policy refresh—for education. Broadly, it was a very positive policy refresh, but I am concerned about page 16, which states:
“Securing teacher reform will be politically challenging for national decision-makers. It will often require long negotiation with influential teachers’ unions which have the capability to mobilise at national scale should they oppose reform. Politicians who rely on teachers’ political support face difficult trade-offs in negotiating improvements”.
I am worried about the tone that that sets. It does not talk about unions in a positive way. It does not say that politicians who work with unions are more likely to get added value in reform if they bring teachers along. It sets up a clear dichotomy between reform and unions, which is a real shame. I would hate to see again the negative and pernicious attitude that was in the Department for Education with the Secretary of State a Government ago. He described unions and teachers as “The Blob”. I am sure that that is not what the Department meant, but that phrase was very poor and did not positively engage with teachers’ unions, which have played a very positive role globally and sit alongside our Secretary of State on the governing board of the GPE. We should see them as partners, not adversaries.
Finally, I want to touch upon some of the issues around the international finance facility for education. We recommended that the Department commit to that. It only partly agreed to do so in its response, saying that it will look at the issue and when it has greater detail it will decide. I am worried that this is the same approach that happened with the GPE. We asked for an early announcement and a pledge to refinance. The Government said, “Oh yes, just wait.” Only the day before did they announce—on the GPE—the amount we would pledge. If we are trying to leverage more money and support, we must announce early—we must be a forerunner, not a follower. With the GPE, we have pledged an amount now that is unlikely to reach the cap and really has not leveraged a greater amount. I worry that if in the international finance facility for education we do not pledge early, strongly and unequivocally, other countries and donors will hold off. I hope the Minister will be able to make a slightly stronger commitment than the Department did in its report.
I have picked out some of the things I disagree with in the Department’s response, but it is important to note that, on the vast majority of things, we are clearly at one—the Government, the Committee and, I hope, Parliament. We support global education. We understand the value that it gives to people and children in the developing world, particularly to young girls and people with disabilities, where we have led the way. We also understand the value for our country of providing a world that is more educated and more equipped to engage in positive economic activity, and that fulfils the human rights we value.
It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Sir Graham. I am grateful for your forbearance, given my lateness. Unfortunately I was unable to catch what I know must have been an excellent introduction by the Chairman of our Committee, the hon. Member for Liverpool, West Derby (Stephen Twigg). We heard from my hon. Friend the Member for Mid Derbyshire (Mrs Latham) that the speakers previous to her had said it all—well, I do not know what was said in the introduction, so I maybe have a slight advantage and will just bowl on anyway.
I want to tackle the other two issues that we covered in the report, beyond financing global education: improving access to education, and improving the quality and equity of education—of course, financing is the key to that. The Chairman of the Committee is to be commended for the fact that report took a good long time to go through because of its depth. I know that he was keen to follow through on the sustainable development goals. The millennium development goals and the sustainable development goals had transferred the international community’s responsibility on education from just getting people into school, sitting down and looking at a blackboard for a few years to actually getting them learning and achieving something so that they can then play a positive role in their community.
For all the reasons that we have heard, education helps people develop their communities, economies and countries, not just through financial prosperity but by building democracy. That is the long-term view behind so many other areas of international development. When we speak in this place and speak to our constituents to quite rightly justify our 0.7% contribution, we can—we should—look really proudly at what we are achieving in getting people into school so that they can make a positive contribution that will help build their countries’ democracies. That will reduce the need for people to emigrate from those countries, so that they can stay in their countries and build them. That also improves security—all those factors stem from education in the first place.
In the last Parliament, the Committee went to Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. We looked at barriers to girls’ education in particular, some of which we have talked about. One odd, but no less serious, case was in the Samburu wildlife camp, where one poor girl was eaten by a crocodile on her way to get water for her family. As extreme as that is, it shows that in the most hostile environment in the world, not everything can be catered for.
We went to a PEAS—Promoting Equality in African Schools—school and looked at the lighting, which gave the girls a sense of security in getting around the school camp where they were boarding. They could also have lunch on site, because some headteachers feared that when they were off site, they were subject to predatory behaviour. Some girls were dragged into a situation where they could not carry on with their education, because they felt encumbered by the person who took them on board as a wife in that hostile environment and got them pregnant. It is really difficult in that culture and in those circumstances for a young girl to have a sense of independence and carry on their education. There was no greater example of that than in the Samburu tribe’s practice of beading, whereby a Samburu warrior would put a necklace of beads around a girl’s neck and that girl would become his sexual partner, later to be married. She was effectively owned by that warrior. That restricted her for ever more from that point.
The sense of empowerment provided by lighting, safety and sanitary products can really help liberate girls. PEAS had a girls club that had some boys in it—those boys felt bold enough to join it. It gave them a sense of respect and of being able to discuss issues that are not normally discussed between the sexes in a Ugandan or Kenyan community. That can only help in the long term. Many Samburu and other nomadic people in the area had to move from area to area because of the lack of food and crops. We need to look at what more the Department for International Development and the international community can do to help them stabilise themselves, so that girls and boys can stay within one school and have a sense of continuity and, therefore, a sense of learning.
It is right that DFID stopped offering budget support many years ago, but we should still be influencing the domestic education system. We have talked about public and private schools, but in the Committee in the previous Parliament, the debate about the difference between public and private dampened down slightly when we actually saw what it meant in practice. There were a number of public schools that were still charging for things such as electricity, uniform and food, so there was still quite a considerable cost for many people, albeit within a public school setting. None the less, we need to compare the quality of private and public schools.
The Bridge schools in Liberia have been mentioned. When we saw the Bridge schools in Uganda, they were really a mixed bag. That comes partly from the teaching, which my hon. Friend the Member for Mid Derbyshire mentioned. Teachers can only have so much training, and they rely on a tablet for their work. They read out the lesson plan from the tablet, rather than having a deeper understanding of what they are trying to teach the children sitting in front of them. That brings us back to the old millennium development goals, which, as we heard earlier, were just about having people sitting down and being lectured at, but not really learning. We need to find a way of connecting with domestic training in countries to ensure that the teachers are the right people for the job and have the skills they need to engage.
Finally, in the directly funded work that we saw about getting the most marginalised back into schools, we found that people were able to experiment outside the state system. We saw some examples of people with learning disabilities who were learning to count through dance. If the Daily Mail found out about that there would probably be a headline tomorrow, but they had a little space to experiment and trial these sorts of things, to see what works and what does not. We know in this country that people learn in different ways—some visualise, and some learn by rote—so differences in learning are really important to engage people and to ensure that no girl or boy is left behind.
We have four wind-ups to come, including from the Chair of the Select Committee. May I ask the Opposition spokesmen to try to keep their remarks to no more than about eight minutes, to ensure that everybody is heard?
As ever, it is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Sir Graham.
Before summing up for the Scottish National party, I want to commend the hon. Member for Liverpool, West Derby (Stephen Twigg) for opening the debate eloquently. It was a fine speech. My hon. Friend the Member for Dundee West (Chris Law), a member of the Committee, had hoped to be here today. He has had to return to Scotland, so I am afraid that hon. Members are lumped with me to provide the third party summing up for the SNP.
With your indulgence, Sir Graham, I would like to acknowledge some of the students from Eastbank Academy in Shettleston, in my constituency. It is fitting that as we discuss education we have children from Shettleston and Glasgow here. The education that our constituents get should always be at the forefront of our minds. We should strive every day to ensure that what they get in Shettleston is what they would get in Senegal.
It is difficult to sum up this debate, because Members have largely all said the same thing. As each one stood up, I found myself hacking bits of my speech out. The hon. Member for Poplar and Limehouse (Jim Fitzpatrick) was absolutely right to speak about safety on the way to school. The hon. Member for Mid Derbyshire (Mrs Latham) put strong emphasis on girls going to school. There will be a certain amount of that in my own speech. The hon. Member for Brighton, Kemptown (Lloyd Russell-Moyle) spoke about the cost per head to educate, and about his experience in Liberia. I expect that he will continue to question the Government on their use of statistics.
One thing that the hon. Member for Sutton and Cheam (Paul Scully) mentioned was how we justify the 0.7% target to our constituents. I remember having a few very difficult hustings in June with people asking why we were committed to the 0.7% target. It is important that those of us who believe in fairness and equality argue strongly for that. I know it is not always popular, but sometimes it is better to be right than popular.
As someone who is not a member of the International Development Committee, I must say that I feel like a bit of an intruder in this debate, but I want to bring some personal experience to this afternoon’s discussion. Last year I had the pleasure of visiting Tanzania with RESULTS UK—I also refer the House to my entry in the register—and I am glad to see that the hon. Member for Stafford (Jeremy Lefroy), the chair of the all-party parliamentary group on Tanzania, has joined us for the debate. Tanzania has always had a special place in my heart, and finally getting the opportunity to visit was invaluable. During our visit we focused on education and nutrition. For the purposes of today’s debate, I will focus my remarks primarily on education.
To start on a positive note, I was quite impressed when I visited Benjamin Mkapa Secondary School in Dar es Salaam, which has a rapidly emerging middle class. During the tour of the secondary school we visited a chemistry class, and I was struck by the number of girls studying chemistry. It would have put a lot of our schools to shame and was really encouraging. I will return to girls’ education later.
As might be imagined, the challenges in an urban context were vastly different from those in a rural context. I remember being quite shocked on the first day to learn that there were only 17 computers to serve a school of 2,000 pupils. Unfortunately, later in the week, by the time we reached the Bahi district near Dodoma, the situation in the primary schools was considerably worse. Children were being taught in a packed mud hut where there was literally no room to move. I remember looking down at the faces of kids lined up next to each other with no room to move, and the impact that had on me as I reflected on the schools in Glasgow that I go around on a weekly basis. It really moved me. My wife is a primary school teacher, and we regularly have discussions about class sizes. Class sizes of 60 to 150 are not unusual in Tanzania. As a naive new MP, I came away thinking about how we can fix these things.
The first major challenge is supporting children with additional support needs and those with physical disabilities. Alongside the noble Lord Watts, I remember being quite struck when we learned that a girl with a hearing impairment had no hearing aid and was sitting at the back of the class trying to lipread. She was about 17 rows back, and that struck me as absolutely bizarre.
Owing to Tanzania’s famously conservative views towards family planning—the President actually said that family planning should take a holiday—teenage marriage and subsequent teenage pregnancy are major issues that mean young girls frequently do not finish their studies. That has been brought out in the debate, but the main issue I want to touch on is period poverty.
It is estimated that girls lose between one and two months of the year because of menstruating, all because they do not have access to sanitary products. According to the Netherlands development organisation’s survey on schoolgirls’ menstrual hygiene management, 84% of schools in Tanzania had no hand washing facilities, 86% had no access to clean water, 99% had no hand soap for washing in toilets, and an average of 56 girls used a single pit latrine in schools. Just 2% of schoolgirls, mainly in the urban environment, have access to disposable pads. In the villages, girls were using inappropriate materials to manage menstrual flow. We can have all these great strategies to try to engage young girls in the education system, but something as simple as a lack of tampons and decent sanitary facilities is clearly stopping them. Like the hon. Member for Mid Derbyshire, I hope the Minister will address period poverty when she winds up the debate.
We all agree that schools should be safe and happy places where children can benefit from a good education. Unfortunately, millions of children around the world are not safe at school. That is why this year’s “Send My Friend to School” campaign aims to make schools safe, calling on the UK Government to sign the safe schools declaration, as outlined by the hon. Member for Liverpool, West Derby. The safe schools declaration is an intergovernmental political commitment by which countries express support for protecting students, teachers and schools from attack in times in war. Thousands of young campaigners are already raising this important issue in schools across the country through the Send My Friend to School campaign.
The International Development Committee report suggested that DFID needs to establish a long-term, integrated strategy for supporting education in emergencies, especially in long-term crises. DFID’s new policy report sets out the Department’s plans to promote equitable education systems that include the most marginalised children and address the challenges posed by conflict and instability. It recognises the scale of violence against schools and commits to deliver for children whose education is disrupted by conflict.
Around the world, 15 life-threatening attacks on education take place every single day. Signing the safe schools declaration at the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting next month would further showcase the UK’s leadership on global education and bolster DFID’s commitment to supporting education in emergencies. So far, 73—more than one third—of the world’s countries have endorsed the declaration, including the majority of NATO and EU members. The UK’s failure to sign, when it has some of the most respected armed forces in the world, sends the wrong message to countries that more readily operate outside the bounds of global humanitarian norms.
In conclusion, I hope the Government will take action to sign the safe schools declaration. We have had a good debate today. The time for talk is over; the time for action is now.
It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Sir Graham.
I congratulate my colleague and parliamentary neighbour, my hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, West Derby (Stephen Twigg), on securing this important debate. His passion and expertise on this subject have shone through in his role as Chair of the International Development Committee, and I commend him for championing the importance of education and continuing to hold the Government’s feet to the fire.
I am sure that many other Members would have liked to have been here today, but we are on the last debate of the parliamentary term before Easter. However, we have heard some great contributions from both sides of the Chamber.
My hon. Friend talked about education as a pillar of society, and I completely and utterly agree. He has made a clear argument for more of the DFID budget to be spent on education. There is a need for more girls to access education. In a few speeches we heard about the 263 million children who are not in school. That is, frankly, an astonishing figure that I do not think many people know about. He also focused on early years and technical education, and the barriers facing disabled children in education. A key point was that as conflicts become more protracted and people are displaced for far longer, we must focus much more of our efforts on education.
My hon. Friend the Member for Poplar and Limehouse (Jim Fitzpatrick) focused on road safety. The hon. Member for Mid Derbyshire (Mrs Latham) talked generally about global education, and in particular about girls’ education and the mantra, “Nobody left behind.” My hon. Friend the Member for Brighton, Kemptown (Lloyd Russell-Moyle) talked about the importance of public education, which I will return to, and of Global Partnership for Education funding. He also mentioned the important message of unity; we may criticise the Government and offer alternative suggestions, but there is real unity behind the DFID agenda. The hon. Member for Sutton and Cheam (Paul Scully) talked about access to education, the quality of education and girls’ safety.
The Government have responded to 29 of the Committee’s recommendations. Rather than go through each of them, in the interest of time I will make just three points. First, I welcome the Government’s response to recommendation 10, which said:
“DFID should support the new International Financing Facility for Education…as an additional mechanism for leveraging funding into the provision of global education.”
It is welcome that the Government are working closely with the Education Commission on the details of that proposal. I understand that there are important details still to be worked through, but as other Government donors are now considering whether and how much to contribute to that facility, the Government should think seriously about the signal that their early support could send to them. That should be a real consideration.
Secondly, the Global Partnership for Education is another crucial leg on the stool of education financing, which is covered in the Government’s response to recommendations 7, 8 and 9. As with the international financing facility for education, other donors look to the UK to see what we will do. The International Development Committee made a loud and clear recommendation that DFID should make an early and significant pledge to the GPE before the February summit in Senegal. That would have set a different tone and signalled real global ambition. We will never know how much extra funding may have been pledged by other donors had the UK made an early commitment, but the Government missed a real opportunity. It is not fully clear why a decision was not taken earlier, and whether the delays were due to the change of Secretary of State at the end of 2017, but it may prove a costly mistake.
We are also deeply disappointed in the scale and ambition of the UK’s pledge to the GPE. The Government say that by committing £225 million they have increased their annual contribution by 50%, but that figure does not tell the whole story. That point was picked up widely by hon. Members today, including my hon. Friend the Member for Brighton, Kemptown. If we make a like-for-like comparison with the initial replenishment pledges, or with the amounts transferred rather than pledged, the picture is very different. Despite the need for greatly increased funding, that figure may represent a decline in commitment. I hope the Minister will discuss that pledge in her response. Is there any scope for the Government to consider an additional pledge to get back to the level of ambition and global leadership that Britain has previously shown on education?
Thirdly, I draw attention to the Government’s response to recommendations 21, 22 and 23 of the Committee’s report on private sector provision, low-fee schools and Bridge International Academies. On Bridge, it is deeply disappointing that the Government have not addressed or responded directly to the Committee’s carefully balanced recommendation that DFID must take
“further steps to satisfy itself that the model of educational provision offered by Bridge International Academies offers an effective educational return on the ODA committed to it.”
Let us remember that Bridge International Academies has been widely criticised, and even shut down in Uganda and Liberia. There is damning evidence about the volume of resources and investment that go into it.
Aside from the wider question of private sector provision, the Government must respond more seriously to the specific point about Bridge International Academies. It is not acceptable simply to carry on investing in, and even to increase funding for, a failing model without sufficient evidence to support it. I hope the Minister will address that point in her response.
On the wider point of DFID’s implicit support for private sector provision and for low-fee schools and academies, there is simply a fundamental difference between the Conservatives and the Labour party. We are deeply concerned by the Government’s ideological dogma that leads them to open up public services in low-income countries to organisations such as Bridge International Academies. We have seen no compelling or credible evidence that the model works better than public sector provision.
On Monday, Labour launched its new policy paper, “A World For the Many, Not the Few”, of which I have a copy here, if the Minister would like to take one away with her. In it, we commit to ensuring that British taxpayer-funded aid does not weaken crucial public services in developing countries. Public services, especially health and education, are perhaps our best line of defence against soaring global inequality. The UK should drive a positive global movement for universal, free, high-quality public services, not spend British taxpayers’ money on weakening or undermining such services.
Labour has therefore said that, in government, we will end DFID funding and Government support for Bridge International Academies. We are clear about how we would respond to the Committee’s important recommendations, and we would like the Government and the CDC Group to take them much more seriously too.
I look forward to hearing the Minister’s response to those and other points. I thank hon. Members again for their contributions to the debate and my hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, West Derby for securing it.
I, too, congratulate the hon. Member for Liverpool, West Derby (Stephen Twigg) on securing the debate along with his Committee. I thank the Committee for its engagement with and scrutiny of this important topic, and for the wide range of constructive recommendations in the report. I add my commendation for the work of Send My Friend to School in raising awareness across the country.
I assure hon. Members that the Government believe passionately in this agenda—in the importance of education and of the work we can do through our development budget to champion it around the world. Education is the single most effective thing in terms of unlocking potential and opening doors to economic development, so individuals can be active citizens and enjoy good health.
The economic benefits are quantified in different ways in different studies around the world, but there is no question but that for every year that someone spends in school, their lifetime earnings and the economic potential of their country substantially increases. There is also no question but that for every year of education, the pressures of population growth, of child marriage and of infant mortality move in the right direction. That happens when we invest in education.
It is not only those of us in the Department for International Development who passionately believe that, but people across Government. It is wonderful to have a Foreign Secretary who champions that agenda. He described the impact of that multi-pronged tool as being the “Swiss army knife” of economic development around the world.
We have summarised the whole campaign in five words—12 years of quality education. Those five words are designed to summarise the length of the investment needed and to put an important emphasis on quality.
We heard a range of different and interesting contributions in the debate, throughout which several questions were addressed to me. I will pick up on a few of those. In terms of our international agenda, the UK-France summit highlighted that this is a global year of education, and we are working with the World Bank on that too. That important topic is thoroughly embedded in all the DFID country offices, with their range of expertise, and we will engage on it across the diplomatic network, in every country where we have a Foreign and Commonwealth Office presence.
We have a wonderful opportunity to showcase that agenda next month at the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting. I reassure hon. Members that “12 years of quality education” will have an important and prominent place at the summit, to get the 53 countries that are coming to the UK to make pledges on education and on that agenda. It is a great opportunity to demonstrate UK leadership in the area. In July we will also invite the world to London, for the disability summit to be held at the Olympic park, which is something we are doing alongside Kenya and the International Disability Alliance. That is another really important forum in which to highlight the work we can do around the world to improve the access to education for people with disabilities, who are sometimes very hard to reach.
Hon. Members asked about the safe schools declaration and spoke about the importance they attach to it. No one could disagree that this is an incredibly important area for us to explore and of course take action on. We very much welcome the spirit of the safe schools declaration, and we have been considering the concerns that exist about some of the accompanying guidelines for protecting schools and universities from military use during armed conflict. Those guidelines do not mirror the language of international humanitarian law, so we have been meeting the relevant civil society organisations to explore our concerns and to try to find a way forward. We are considering our next steps on that.
Hon. Members mentioned the importance in conflict areas of making sure that children do not miss out on education, which is why I am proud that DFID is one of the largest contributors to Education Cannot Wait. We are working with that organisation on education, particularly in relation to the Rohingya refugee crisis. We are working with experts to see what more could be done in Bangladesh and Burma to address that significant challenge.
I was also asked for an update on the effectiveness study regarding early years education. Obviously, it is an ongoing piece of work, but some initial findings will be published this summer, which will cover five countries or regions—Liberia, in which a number of colleagues expressed a particular interest, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Jamaica, and Punjab in Pakistan.
The hon. Member for Poplar and Limehouse (Jim Fitzpatrick) highlighted the absolutely tragic issue of people just being able to get to school safely. He will be interested in the work that we do to fund road safety research and he may also be interested to know that the hon. Member for Huddersfield (Mr Sheerman), who also plays an important role in championing this agenda, has arranged a meeting with me about it. The hon. Member for Poplar and Limehouse may want to come along and then I can go through in great detail with both of them what we are doing in that respect.
My hon. Friend the Member for Mid Derbyshire (Mrs Latham) and the hon. Member for Glasgow East (David Linden) raised the important issue of sanitary protection and the challenges that it can present for girls and their access to school. That is very much the kind of initiative that has been funded through the Girls’ Education Challenge, and several projects have been able to access that funding. We also do work on water, sanitation and hygiene facilities in schools. That was a very important topic to raise.
Hon. Members mentioned Bridge International Academies. Regarding this agenda, I emphasise that we are really trying to focus on the “12 years of quality education” and perhaps we do not take such an ideological stance as that outlined by the spokesman for the Opposition, the hon. Member for Liverpool, Walton (Dan Carden). However, I can confirm that DFID does not currently provide any financial support for Bridge Academies, so that is clearly more of a historic issue than a current one.
I was surprised by the somewhat grudging tone of the remarks about the announcement of the money that we have put into the Global Partnership for Education, because we were its most significant funder, and of course it is important that we work with other Governments to encourage them to spend more on education, as well as with other organisations and other funding bodies. That fund is not the only way in which we fund education; in fact, the money we give to it represents only a small percentage of our education funding. Clearly, there has been some dispute, but for me the announcement of £225 million to be spent over three years places us in the lead for such funding.
Of course, the approach that we are taking to the international finance facility for education is still being developed. I think that it was Julia Gillard who, in her campaign for funding, described the UK’s approach to the replenishment of this fund as being very rigorous in the way that we allocate funding to these types of organisations. We will not just hand out a cream cake, as she put it; we ensure that we are the tough friend who makes someone get up and run a 10 km race. That was her analogy and it shows the rigour with which we spend taxpayers’ money around the world.
The work that we have done on education was published in February, and updated in line with the International Development Committee’s recommendation. As I have said, it is about improving education quality and getting more children to learn the basics of literacy and numeracy.
In our approach, we focus on three areas of change. The first is to support countries to fundamentally rethink the way that teachers are recruited, trained and motivated. For example, with our support, the Government of Ghana has endorsed ambitious teacher training reforms, including new standards for teacher education and a new framework for the curriculum, and those changes are really making a difference in the classroom.
Secondly, we will stand behind system reform that delivers results in the classroom and we agree with the Committee that the education advisers and the research that DFID can provide are a vital part of that offer to Governments. We also share our wider UK expertise, such as our curriculum, our national exams and our Ofsted inspection system. In Punjab in Pakistan, for example, UK support and expertise have contributed to systems reform that has seen the average literacy and numeracy scores of grade 3 children increase by more than 20 percentage points in just the last three years.
Thirdly, we will continue to commit to reaching the hard-to-reach girls and boys affected by crises. I was asked about the total amount that we spent in 2016. We spent £964 million of official development assistance on education, which is 11.3% of UK bilateral aid, and I can reassure hon. Members that education will remain a high priority for DFID spending.
In fact, we recognise that greater investment in education is needed to drive sustainable development goal 4, but other donors must also play an important part. To increase its value for money, education spending has to be efficient and effective, and we will support Governments to cut waste and to use public resources effectively. If we determine that a country can contribute more towards its education, we will indeed expect it to do so.
In conclusion, with our priorities clearly mapped out, we will draw on the full range of our capabilities and UK expertise to ensure that our programmes improve the lives of children around the world. We will show leadership on the world stage through a global year of learning. I thank members of the Committee for their report, and will leave a moment for the Chair of the Committee to respond.
We have had an excellent debate and I thank everyone who has taken part in it, particularly my hon. Friend the Member for Poplar and Limehouse (Jim Fitzpatrick), who rightly reminded us about the central importance of road safety education; the hon. Member for Mid Derbyshire (Mrs Latham), who is now the longest serving member of our Committee and an invaluable member, and she rightly reminded us about the central theme of the global goals of leaving no-one behind; my hon. Friend the Member for Brighton, Kemptown (Lloyd Russell-Moyle), who is one of the new members of the Committee, having joined the House last year, and he has brought great new energy and enthusiasm and represented us at the replenishment conference in Senegal; the hon. Member for Sutton and Cheam (Paul Scully), who spoke very powerfully, in particular about what we saw when we were in Uganda and Kenya; the hon. Member for Glasgow East (David Linden), who spoke for the Scottish National party and who also spoke very powerfully, based on what he saw when he visited Tanzania; and my hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, Walton (Dan Carden), the shadow Minister, who is my constituency neighbour and who rightly reminded us of the central importance of leadership by our country if we are going to address these crucial issues.
Finally, I thank the Minister for her response to this debate, including responding to questions that I put during it. The theme that she set out—the five words—is one that can unite us all today: “12 years of quality education”.
Motion lapsed, and sitting adjourned without Question put (Standing Order No.10(14)).