Boris Johnson will take part in a live classroom link-up between schoolchildren in the UK and Kenya as he urges world leaders to invest in education.
The Prime Minister is expected to visit a school in the UK on Thursday where he will speak to President Uhuru Kenyatta at a school in Nairobi, in support of the UK’s ambition to get 40 million more girls into school in the next five years.
It comes as the UK announced £55 million of new funding for a hub to support education in developing countries and to advise governments across Africa and Asia to reform school systems.
In recent weeks the Government has faced sustained criticism for cuts to foreign aid, from 0.7% of national income to 0.5%, citing the financial impact of the pandemic.
As the effects of the cuts have trickled out, the United Nations Population Fund blasted the 85% cut to its reproductive health agency as “devastating” for women, girls and their families.
On Thursday, the Prime Minister will visit the school with Julia Gillard, former prime minister of Australia and chair of the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), ahead of a global education summit in London in July.
Mr Johnson and Mr Kenyatta will co-host the summit, which will aim to raise funds for the GPE in a bid to transform education in 90 lower-income countries and territories which are home to one billion children.
Mr Johnson said: “Across the world there is a vast untapped resource – girls whose education has been cut short or denied altogether, who could be leading efforts to pull their communities out of poverty.
“I’m going to be working throughout the UK’s G7 presidency to ensure leaders invest in those girls and boost children’s life chances around the world.”
Mr Kenyatta added: “Protecting domestic education budgets and ensuring that we do not lose education momentum because of the Covid-19 pandemic will enable us to create more prosperous and resilient economies.
“We need to make smart investments in education technology to help close the digital divide and leapfrog infrastructure deficits in schools.”
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said: “The UK has ambitious targets to get 40 million more girls into school and 20 million more girls reading by the age of 10, now adopted by the G7 under the UK’s presidency.
“The funding will help schools target teaching to the right level of pupil understanding, explain the benefits to parents of sending their daughters to school, and measure the effectiveness of school programmes and reforms aimed at keeping girls in the classroom.”
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