Canada Increases Support for Education in Afghanistan

MONTREAL, QUEBEC–(Marketwire – Oct. 4, 2007) – The Honourable Beverley J. Oda, Minister of International Cooperation, today joined the Afghanistan Minister of Education, His Excellency Haneef Atmar, to announce that Canada’s New Government is taking a leadership role to increase the access to and quality of education in Afghanistan, by providing a significant investment to Afghanistan’s largest education program, the Education Quality Improvement Project (EQUIP).

“While there has been a significant leap in their school enrolment in the past few years, Afghanistan still has some of the lowest education indicators in the world – including large gender gaps and alarmingly high rates of illiteracy for women and girls,” said Minister Oda. “Increasing access to education for young Afghan children, especially girls, is crucial for the future of this country, which is why our Government is pleased to be taking a leadership role with this investment today.”

Canada is contributing $60 million over four years to EQUIP, which is managed by the World Bank. Canada’s investment to EQUIP is the largest investment made by any donor in the world to date.

EQUIP supports activities that strengthen the capacity of schools and communities to manage teaching and learning activities. It also invests in educational facilities and human resources, while placing a special emphasis on the promotion of education for girls.

Today’s announcement is part of Canada’s total contribution of more than $1 billion over 10 years aimed at governance, security and development in Afghanistan. It builds on the commitment made by Prime Minister Stephen Harper last February, when he announced substantive funds to enhance the reconstruction and development process.

For more information on Canada’s programming in Afghanistan, please refer to CIDA’s website

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