FY2016 Funding Recommendation:
President's FY2016 Request
InterAction's FY2016 Recommendation
USAID Basic Education: $800 million
U.S. support for basic education alleviates poverty, strengthens societies, fosters stability, spurs economic growth, and enhances U.S. global leadership and influence. Education is a cost-effective way to equip millions with the tools needed to forge a path to self-sufficiency and better lives.
Unfortunately, students and teachers are increasingly under attack by extremists who feel threatened by the power of education. Recent attacks by Boko Haram in Nigeria and the Taliban in Pakistan provide shocking examples of this fear. We must join with young people like Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani girl who defied the Taliban and risked her life demanding the right to an education.
The U.S. is actively working through the USAID Education Strategy, the Room to Learn Initiative, and the recently announced Let Girls Learn Initiative to help ensure children like Malala have access to a better life. Fully funding these programs is essential to maintaining progress and their ensuring success. At least $800 million (with at least $600 million provided as Development Assistance) allocated for bilateral education programs would allow USAID to fulfill these obligations.
FY2012 allocated funding kept over 23 million children enrolled in USAID-supported primary and secondary schools, trained 316,000 teachers, and provided 20 million textbooks and other learning materials. However, 58 million children and 63 million adolescents remain out of school worldwide; roughly half live in conflict zones or fragile areas. Millions of others receive an education so poor that they leave school lacking basic literacy and math skills. Since 2010, global progress to reach these children has virtually stagnated, and donor aid for education has declined.
Global Partnership for Education: $125 million
Some InterAction members also recommend an additional $125 million for the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), the only multilateral partnership focused on ensuring all children have access to a quality education. GPE has allocated $4.3 billion to nearly 60 developing country partners. This has helped 22 million of the world's neediest children attend and remain in better schools, trained over 300,000 teachers, and built, rehabilitated, and equipped 53,000 classrooms. In June 2014, GPE’s developing country partners pledged $26 billion in domestic resources to basic education, showing an unprecedented commitment to education that must be matched by donors like the U.S.
Teaching change in Pakistan
“When a girl acquires education, she educates her children and benefits the community as a whole,” said Nadia Thalho, one of several young, female college students enrolled in a new teaching degree program in Hyderabad, Pakistan.
In the spring of 2013, these women were among the 41 new teachers to graduate from the program, bringing new ways of teaching to schools across Pakistan.
The degree program is part of the USAID Teacher Education Project, which is working with 22 universities and 89 teacher colleges in Pakistan to raise academic standards in teacher education. Implemented by Education Development Center (EDC), the project offers a two-year associate’s degree and a new four-year bachelor’s degree in education.
Under the new teaching standards, interactive group study, class discussion, and other learner-centered activities replace lectures and memorization. As a result, students are gaining self-confidence and greater awareness. They recently held elections for student officers, bringing the “Elections, Power, and Authority” part of their syllabus to life. It was the first time most of the girls had ever voted.
The new degree program is doing more than changing teaching methods; it is elevating the teaching profession itself.
In many parts of Pakistan, women are discouraged from working outside of the home or are timid and reluctant to express opinions. Master teacher Rozina Khuwaja thinks that enhancing the teaching profession might help change that. “Pakistani women are just as competent and smart as men. By studying topics such as human rights and elections, they become more aware about their rights as citizens.”
Today, Khuwaja and Thalho co-teach a class in Hyderabad and together are inspiring the next generation of women teachers in Pakistan.
“The new teacher program helps women develop confidence,” says Thalho. “It encourages them to prepare themselves to become mentors for the future generation.”
Photo Credit: EDC/USAID Teacher Education Project