Mr. Gareth Thomas:
Universal Primary Education by 2015 is the top priority of DFID's education programme and we are working closely with our international partners to achieve this. DFID is targeting countries with a high proportion of children out-of-school, such as Ethiopia, India and Bangladesh, and regions with a high number of countries with chronic levels of out-of-school children, such as Sub-Saharan Africa. Progress has been made in many countries with global enrolment in primary education increasing from 596 million in 1990 to 648 million children in 2000. However, with over 100 million children still not currently enrolled in primary education, much still remains to be done.
In recognition of this, DFID has invested over £820 million in education in developing countries since 1997. DFID is increasing this investment and are planning to spend £1 billion from 2004–2008. In addition, DFID is providing £12 million to the World Bank Fast-Track Initiative Catalytic Fund for education. This will go to help a specific group of developing countries that need a quick injection of money to get their education systems up and running.
DFID is collaborating with a variety of partners to accelerate progress on girls' education, as girls are much more likely to be out-of-school than boys (over 50 per cent). DFID is working with the UN Girls' Education Initiative to ensure stronger collaboration and coordination among donors at the global and the national level. At the country level, DFID continues to prioritise support to those governments that give priority to primary education. For example, we are supporting the Kenyan Government, who have recently abolished school fees at primary level, to provide enough school places to keep up with demand and ensure that quality is sustained.