S&D Group president Gianni Pittella, together with Linda McAvan, chair of the European Parliament's development committee, and Silvia Costa, chair of the culture committee, today officially launched the S&D initiative 'EDUCA'. The project aims to improve access to education for all children in humanitarian emergency areas.
Launching the initiative, S&D Group president Gianni Pittella said:
"We should open our eyes and be aware of the negative impacts of conflict on the learning process for children. Children's educational attainment is particularly compromised by exposure to violence. Only 65% of children in countries affected by conflicts reach the last primary school grade, in comparison with 86% across low-income countries generally.
"We, Socialists and Democrats, believe that education is a key factor in achieving stability in conflict-affected countries. Lack of educational opportunities may lead to long-term poverty and, in some specific circumstances, to a risk of radicalisation. That is why it is important to reform the education-financing systems in conflict-affected countries.
"Through EDUCA, we are calling for increased access to education for children, including an increase in the proportion of the EU's humanitarian aid spending on education rising from 2 to 4% by 2018. We urge the European Commission to deliver in this regard. In addition, we also call on the international community to increase its funding for education. Consequently, the first-ever World Humanitarian Summit in May 2016 must also engage to achieve this goal by supporting a global increase in funding for education."
Linda McAvan MEP, chair of the development committee, added:
"I am glad that the Commission has listened to MEPs and we can now expect to see a big increase for education in emergencies in this year's EU budget. Now we must take this campaign to Istanbul for the World Humanitarian Summit and ensure that all global players come on board to give every child and young person a passport for a better future."
Silvia Costa MEP, chair of the culture committee, concluded:
"Education and educational assistance are an integral part of the process of welcoming of children who live in emergency situations, or are hosted in refugee camps. It is not a plan B but a powerful means of psychological reassurance and prevention of every kind of exploitation and conflict.
"The launch of this campaign is an important step forward. It integrates an earlier S&D proposal for the establishment of an "educational corridor". This would give thousands of university students living in conflict areas across the world the opportunity to access European universities, including through online lectures provided free of charge. I have asked the EU's high representative for foreign affairs, Federica Mogherini, and EU commissioner for education and culture, Tibor Navracsics, to ensure that this is achieved using both specific actions of the Erasmus Mundus programme and other resources from the trust fund for the Mediterranean countries."
Follow us on Twitter #GoFor4 and read more on the initiative here

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