Overseas Education

Treasury written question – answered on 28th February 2002.

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Photo of Jeff Ennis Jeff Ennis Labour, Barnsley East and Mexborough

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans he has for increasing Britain's contributions towards education in foreign countries in the next three years.

Photo of Ruth Kelly Ruth Kelly Economic Secretary, HM Treasury

The Government are strongly committed to achieving the Millennium Development Goals of universal primary education (UPE) in all countries by the year 2015 and gender equity in primary and secondary schooling by 2005.

Since May 1997 the Department for International Development has committed over £600 million to education. In addition, we will be launching the Commonwealth Education Fund on 12 March. The Fund will support the achievement of universal primary education (UPE) in the poorest Commonwealth countries. The Government have pledged £10 million to kickstart the Fund, and will match donations from business and individuals pound for pound including tax relief.

Education will continue to be given high priority under our development assistance programme because it is a precondition of development and poverty reduction.

The UK's International Development budget has risen by 45 per cent. in real terms since 1997 and is now at the highest level ever. The ratio of Official Development Assistance to Gross National Product is on course to rise from 0.26 per cent. to 0.33 per cent. by 2003–04. We will significantly raise the amount of our development aid, and also raise its share in national income, in our next spending round covering the years up to 2005–06.

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