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The Credit Suisse Global Education Initiative is supporting selected international development organizations to improve the education opportunities for thousands of school-age children and young people through locally relevant programs across the regions in which we operate.
Based on enrolment data of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals Report 2012 (PDF) about 61 million children of primary school age in the developing world were not in school in 2010. 33 million were from sub-Saharan Africa, and 13 million from Southern Asia.
Surveys show that these figures underestimate the actual number of children who, though enrolled, are not attending school. Moreover, neither enrolment nor attendance figures reflect children who do not attend school regularly. To make matters worse, official data are not usually available from countries in conflict or post-conflict situations. If data from these countries were reflected in global estimates, the enrolment picture would be even less optimistic. And nearly one billion people entered the 21st century unable to read a book or sign their names.
This education deficit represents an enormous loss of human potential: education is a great equalizer and powerful force for social and economic change. It has served as a ticket out of economic hardship for millions, laying a foundation for a better life and greater opportunities.
In 2000, eight Millenium Development Goals (MDG) were defined by the largest gathering of world leaders in UN history. One of those goals, 'Achieving Universal Primary Education' aspires to ‘Ensure that, by 2015, children everywhere, boys and girls alike, will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling’.
However, more than a decade on, inequalities in access to education persist. It is unlikely that the target will be met, and the children who are most likely to drop out of school or not attend at all are often girls. Educating girls is the variable most highly correlated with improvements to the lives of families, communities and countries. It helps break the bonds of poverty by creating a virtuous cycle: while men reinvest some 30-40 percent of their income in the family, women reinvest 90 percent of their income into the household. An educated girl will marry later, have fewer children, and prioritize the education of her own children. These children, in turn, will have the opportunity to enjoy a healthy and prosperous trajectory of their own.
The Global Education Initiative supports the programs of selected international non-profit organizations using a three-fold approach: breaking down barriers to access, improving the quality and relevance of education and ensuring that our partners achieve greater impact and sustainability.
In 2010, building on the good foundations laid within this threefold framework, we further refined our goal: to enhance student learner outcomes by expanding access to education and improving quality of education. To better measure our progress towards this goal, we continued the funding of our five partners (Camfed, CARE, Plan International, Room to Read and Teach for All) and entered into partnership with Worldfund. As we believe that long term partnerships are vital to sustainability and impact, we are continuing to fund the work of our 6 partners through 2012-13 and to build on our relationship to ensure that the collaboration adds value in a variety of ways. One example is through our skills-based volunteering Global Citizens Program which enables our employees to directly support our partners’ organizational development.
The diagram below shows the various education program interventions that have been documented as having an impact on expanding access and improving the quality of education. The programs of our partners all contain these elements.