Education for All Act of 2016

During the 2015 United Nations Sustainable Development Summit, the United Nations adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which includes 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to be achieved by 2030. Sustainable Development Goal 4 aims to ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning. Achieving the SDGs is a global effort; therefore, countries such as the United States need to strengthen their foreign assistance commitments to ensure a sustainable future for all.

In February 2016, U.S. representatives Nita Lowey and Dave Reichert introduced the Education for All Act 2016 (H.R. 4481), a bipartisan legislation that aims to expand children’s access to school globally and improve education quality. H.R. 4481 is an amendment of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 and was revised on 24 June 2016.

Although different versions of the Education for All Act have been introduced over the past several years, H.R. 4481, which passed the U.S. House of Representatives in September, will contribute to international efforts to achieve SDG 4 by improving education opportunities and addressing key obstacles to school attendance and graduation worldwide. The legislation strengthens foreign assistance toward the millions of children and youth out of school, and improves the quality of education for those already enrolled.

The legislation commits U.S. policy to education diplomacy efforts that engage key stakeholders, such as international organizations, non-governmental organizations, and civil society to work toward its aim. The Education for All Act will “promote education as a foundation for sustained economic growth and development within a holistic assistance strategy” (EFA Congressional Record), which will increase economic growth not only in the United States, but also in developing countries worldwide. This is the first step in the legislative process, and supporters will continue to advocate for the bill to pass through the Senate and, ultimately, make the Education for All Act U.S. law.

For more information:

Congress.Gov: Summary: H.R.4481 – 114th Congress (2015-2016) Education for All Act of 2016. Read the complete report here.

Read more information about the UN Sustainable Development Goals here.

For United States constituents who would like to advocate for the Education for All Act, visit the GCE-US action page here.

Anne Bauer