The new policy framework sets out four key priorities: improving access to learning opportunities for children and young people, providing quality education and training, ensuring that education is protected from attacks, and introducing rapid and innovative education responses.
This decision is a milestone in the Juncker Commission's commitment to support millions of children whose access to education is being disrupted due to conflict, forced displacement, violence, climate change and disasters. The EU's largest ever humanitarian programme for education in emergencies worth €84 million is currently the Conditional Cash Transfer for Education programme in Turkey that helps put 290,000 refugee children into school.
Across the world access to education is denied to millions of children by conflict, forced displacement, violence, climate change, and disasters. Syria, Iraq, Yemen, occupied Palestinian territory, Afghanistan, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo are among some 35 crisis-affected countries where nearly 75 million school-aged children experience disruption to their education. Among refugees, just over half of the children of primary school age attend school, while less than a quarter of the equivalent age group are in secondary school and merely 1 per cent in tertiary education.
The EU has become a global leader in education in emergencies since the global average of humanitarian aid to education is less than 3%. The Commission has consistently stepped up funding. For example, from funding projects in only 6 countries in 2012 from its humanitarian budget, the latter has now reached projects in a total of 52 countries worldwide. Overall, more than 5.5 million girls and boys have benefited from this funding of some €265 million since 2016. In addition, more than € 1.5 billion has been mobilised by the EU in the context of the Syrian crisis since 2011. This has been done through a range of EU instruments and mechanisms (the European Neighbourhood Instrument, humanitarian assistance, the Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace, as well as the EU Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian Crisis, which also ensures educational opportunities for host countries under pressure like Lebanon and Jordan, and the EU Facility for refugees in Turkey). The ERASMUS+ Programme continues to be open to Syrian students for study periods abroad and to Syrian universities for capacity building and modernisation of curricula.
Under today's proposal the EU will strengthen the links between tools and instruments available under humanitarian aid and development cooperation. This will build on the substantial contribution EU development assistance already provides to education projects in fragile and crisis affected countries and regions across the world, including through multilateral financing to global initiatives such as the Global Partnership for Education and Education Cannot Wait.