12 January 2022
Harriett Baldwin calls for international support for education in Afghanistan

Following the Government response to an Urgent Question on the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, Harriett Baldwin raises concerns about the concurrent learning crisis in the country and calls on the UK Government to ensure that teachers are getting paid so that schools can reopen.

Harriett Baldwin (West Worcestershire) (Con)

I congratulate the hon. Member for Norwich South (Clive Lewis) on securing this incredibly important urgent question. We have heard rightly from the Minister about the urgency of the humanitarian crisis, but there is also a learning crisis in Afghanistan, and all the progress made in getting children into education has gone back to the beginning. What can the Minister tell us about the Government’s efforts to ensure that teachers are getting paid, to sustain education for the generations to come in Afghanistan?

Vicky Ford (The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs)

As ever, my hon. Friend is absolutely right to raise the issue of girls’ education. We are absolutely committed to girls’ education across the world and we absolutely believe that all girls in Afghanistan have the right to education at all stages—both secondary and primary. We continue to provide emergency education funding through the UN system, and multilateral funding, including for Education Cannot Wait and the Global Partnership for Education. It is currently holiday time in Afghanistan. The schools are due to reopen in March. One of the key partners that we work with on providing education in Afghanistan is Save the Children, and I have a long-scheduled meeting with the head of Save the Children immediately after these exchanges this afternoon. I am more than happy to speak to my hon. Friend immediately after that meeting.