This blog post was published under the 2015 to 2024 Conservative government

Helen Grant MP, Prime Minister’s Special Envoy for Girls’ Education

Helen Grant

Prime Minister's Special Envoy for Girls' Education

Part of Girls' Education

15th May 2023

Rights, freedom, potential: UK leadership at Education World Forum 2023

Ministers at Education World Forum 2023, including UK Government representatives Minister Mitchell and Helen Grant (FCDO) and Secretary of State Keegan, Minister Gibb and Baroness Barran (Department for Education).

Last week, over 100 Education Ministers from across the globe came together for the 19th Education World Forum (EWF). The EWF takes place in London every year and is the largest gathering of Education Ministers in the world.

This year’s event was an excellent opportunity to showcase UK leadership on global education following the launch of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office’s (FCDO) International Women and Girls Strategy in March. 

In the Strategy, we committed to driving the conversation, leading by example, and leading through knowledge to advance our priorities. Our priorities – the 3 Es – are Educating girls, Empowering women and girls, and Ending violence against them. As the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy for Girls’ Education, I am committed to working across the 3 Es to support the rights, freedom and potential of all women and girls.

Honourable Awut Deng Acuil, Minister of General Education and Instruction, South Sudan with Helen Grant.

At the EWF, the FCDO drove the conversation through bilateral meetings led by Minister Mitchell, Lord Ahmad and myself with over 20 visiting delegations, emphasising the importance of collective and sustained effort on the 3 Es. Alicia Herbert, the FCDO’s Gender Envoy, gave the closing address at the British Council’s Policy Dialogue on Foundational Learning. She reinforced the message that when girls are equipped with foundational learning skills, they are less likely to experience violence; and more likely to get married later, earn more, and help their communities be resilient to climate change.  


Minister Mitchell addressing delegates at the EWF.

We led by example and announced the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ (ASEAN) Girls’ Education and Skills Programme. This programme will provide up to £30 million over 6 years for programmes in the ten member states of ASEAN. It will be the first of 5 UK-ASEAN partnership programmes, a significant expansion of the UK’s bilateral footprint in the Indo-Pacific region. Ahead of the EWF, Minister Mitchell also announced the new Scaling Access and Learning in Education (SCALE) programme. SCALE will provide up to £68 million to bring together UK-led expertise, support and influence. This will help increase the uptake of cost-effective interventions that deliver foundational learning outcomes for all, especially disadvantaged girls and boys.

Dr Rukmini Banerji, Global Education Evidence Advisory Panel expert, speaking at the report launch.

Finally, we led through knowledge and launched the updated Global Education Evidence Advisory Panel report, Cost Effective Approaches to Improve Global Learning, 2023 (PDF, 33.6MB). This new report adds significant weight to the importance of evidence on the ability of foundational learning and early childhood education to improve learning outcomes. The report combines findings from over 400 evaluations and includes new areas such as health, nutrition, and socio-emotional development. The Global Education Evidence Advisory Panel brings together world-class, cross-disciplinary expertise and rigorous evidence to provide guidance on evidence-based approaches to improve education in low- and middle-income countries.

I am proud of the leadership we continue to show in standing up for the rights of women and girls and for our work to ensure every girl on the planet receives 12 years of quality education. But we cannot take our foot off the accelerator. The countdown to the Sustainable Development Goals 2030 deadline is ticking, and we must work together to protect the rights, freedom and potential of all women and girls. Long-term, sustainable development is not possible without them.

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