I’m thrilled to join you for the opening of this important conference. As a teacher myself, I always feel at home in schools.
They’re special places, where both students and teachers learn and grow. Today, schools are more important than ever.
The world is home to the largest generation of young people in history. A generation that suffered learning losses due to Covid-19. A generation that faces profound global challenges.
Now, the world risks leaving an entire generation of youth behind. We will let that happen.
At the UN Transforming Education Summit, Nepal and the European Union called for urgent, global action.
We made concrete commitments – to improve teaching and learning, strengthen systems, and increase public financing for education.
Today is about delivering on our commitments. I’m a member of the SDG4 high-level Steering Committee. So it’s not just my personal goal, but also my responsibility to foster education partnerships.
This afternoon I’m thrilled to announce the EU’s full support for Nepal’s new School Education Sector plan. Nepal and the EU share 20 years history of partnership on education. The progress is impressive.
Nepal has significantly increased access to education – especially for girls and disadvantaged communities.
Between 1998 and 2018, literacy rates among people over 15 rose from 21% to 68%! I applaud all of you, members of government, teachers, and students who helped make that happen.
Today, we take the next step to improve quality, access and learning outcomes. In a diverse country like Nepal, with more than 120 languages, local leadership is key.
Your new constitution empowers local governments to respond to the unique cultural, geographic and demographic needs of their communities. This includes delivering quality education for all.
I’m pleased to see that your new education plan focuses heavily on learning recovery and building resilience into the education system. The EU is eager to help to move from vision to reality.
Our EUR 50 million Quality Support for All initiative offers Nepal the resources and expertise of the EU and its Member States – in particular, Finland, whose education experience and outcomes are exceptional.
We will do everything we can to ensure that Nepal’s new education plan succeeds. This includes donating to the Global Partnership for Education Fund, which is a major development investor in Nepal.
The EU and its Members States are the largest collective donor to this fund, accounting for more than 50%.
When people think of Nepal, they think of the Sagarmatha – or as we call it, Mount Everest. They think of the world’s highest mountain.
Today, when I think of Nepal, I think of a different kind of mountain. I think of the heights Nepal can achieve if its young people are equipped with a quality education. I think of jobs, a skilled work force, and economic growth.
Above all, I think of a prosperous, brighter future. Let’s do everything we can to achieve it. Together.Visit EU Page
Urpilainen is the EU Commissioner for International Partnerships. Excerpts of her Speech delivered at the high-level conference on primary and secondary education in Nepal – Kathmandu.