Open letter from Gordon Brown: Only urgent action can protect children’s education

The global learning crisis has reached a critical juncture as COVID-19 exacerbates existing inequalities in education. We have joined forces with the Save Our Future initiative to call for immediate action to protect education funding, ensuring that children and young people are granted the opportunities they deserve.

During the peak of COVID-19-related lockdowns, more than 1.6 billion children were out of school. 30 million of them may never return. School and education are a haven for the world’s most vulnerable children, providing not just a place to learn, but to eat, escape poverty and danger, and expand their opportunities. According to the World Bank, the long-term economic cost of lost schooling could be as much as $10 trillion.

In an open letter to the international community, Gordon Brown, former UK Prime Minister, founding EOF advisory board chair, and current UN Special Envoy for Global Education, outlined Save our Future’s call to action for four key stakeholders:

  • Countries: Pledge to protect front-line education spending, prioritizing the needs of the most disadvantaged children through conditional and unconditional cash transfers to promote school participation, where possible.

  • International donors: Increase aid for education, focusing on the most vulnerable, including the poor, girls, children in conflict situations, and the disabled.

  • The International Monetary Fund (IMF): Issue $1.2 trillion in Special Drawing Rights (its global reserve asset) and agree to channel these resources toward the countries that need them most, creating a platform for recovery.

  • World Bank: Unlock more support for low-income countries through a supplementary International Development Association budget and invite additional guarantees and grants from donors.

We cannot stand by and allow young people to be robbed of their education and a fair chance in life. It is time for the international community to take action.

The letter to the international community can be read here.

The open letter was co-signed by a coalition of global leaders, including current and former heads of state, and international education organizations.