“Education is a human right with immense power to transform. On its foundation rest the cornerstones of freedom, democracy, and sustainable human development.” – Kofi Annan. Today, however, tens of millions of children around the world are not in school.
Call on Congress to promote universal basic education for all children by supporting the Education for All Act. The EFA Act integrates international education into foreign policy, creating partnerships between the U.S., foreign governments, and civil society organizations to support quality basic education and promote education as the foundation for development.
Promoting universal basic education supports existing American work and goals:
Human Rights, Health, and Equality – Education is in itself a human right, and it advances other human rights and needs. Schooling supports health; higher levels of education are associated with lower infant and maternal mortality, improved nutrition, and lower rates of HIV infection and other diseases. The majority of the world’s out-of-school children are girls, but girls’ education is one of the most effective ways to promote human rights, improve health, reduce poverty, and strengthen communities. The EFA Act promotes gender equity in educational opportunities and encourages respect for girls and women.
Development and Poverty Reduction – Education, especially of girls, is critical to breaking the cycle of poverty and promoting economic development. Schooling is linked to delayed marriage and lower fertility rates; having fewer children allows families to invest more resources in each family member. Higher rates of education correlate with higher earnings and economic growth, helping families and communities break out of poverty. Schooling and literacy are even linked to higher levels of agricultural productivity to combat hunger.
National Security – Education encourages social stability, political engagement, and gender equity, all of which help communities reduce radicalism. Higher education rates and more gender equity in education tend to promote democracy and civic participation.
Climate Change Reduction – In reducing population growth, education reduces pressures on resources and promotes environmental sustainability. Education also helps communities adapt to and combat climate change. The EFA Act includes provisions for disaster preparedness education to help communities respond more effectively to natural disasters.
By encouraging human rights, social and political stability, and economic growth, education supports the U.S.’s humanitarian, security, and development goals.
For human rights, development, security, and climate justice, call on Congress to take action and support universal basic education through the Education for All Act.