Switzerland has announced it is stepping up its contribution to the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), an international fund dedicated to improving education in developing countries.
Speaking to the Swiss News Agency, ATS, on the sidelines of a GPE meeting in Dakar, Thomas Gass of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation said that Switzerland would contribute CHF33.2 million ($35.6 million) to the scheme between 2018 and 2020.
This marks an increase of CHF3.2 million for the coming year, and brings the total Swiss input to CHF40 million over a period of four years. This represents an increase of some 50% on its previous contributions.
The Dakar conference, sponsored by France and Senegal, takes place in the framework of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goalsexternal link, one of which aims to promote inclusive and quality life-long learning.
However, Gass added, the cost of improving education should not be shouldered solely by international funding mechanisms. “Countries from the South should pledge to raise, by up to 20%, the proportion of their national budgets spent on education,” he said.
He also called for more professional training courses for youth, to boost their employability and skills upon leaving school.
To this end, Switzerland also contributes about CHF200,000 annually to another Dakar-based program, for the improvement of education systems in International Organisation of La Francophonieexternal link countries.