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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - RIYADH: The Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development aims to ensure that an additional 28 million children who are currently denied a proper education can go to school by 2030. In addition, it will support educational projects for refugees in conflict zones such as Syria and Burma.
The plans were announced by Bandar Mohammed Hajjar, president of the Islamic Development Bank Group, during its celebrations marking World Education Day.
He said that more than 258 million young people are out of school around the world, two thirds of them in the group’s member states. Statistics suggest that 39 percent of them will start school late, 20 percent will drop out and 41 percent will never get the chance to go to school at all, he added.
The bank recently approved its education policy, Hajjar said, based on a desire to improve the provision of basic education and higher education, along with support services and technical consulting for national education policies in member countries. The bank has signed memoranda of understanding and cooperation agreements with educational institutions in Saudi Arabia, he added.
The bank has raised the level of partnerships and cooperation with several education authorities and related organizations, including the Global Partnership for Education, UNESCO, the German development agency GIZ, the Education Above All Foundation and the nonprofit Save the Children.
“The bank presented an innovative program aimed at enabling NGOs to improve the social and economic well-being of societies that are difficult to reach, through refugee education, job creation, and community-based livelihood development,” Hajjar said. “The bank also has a plan to increase the number of refugees holding scholarships in higher-education programs, to support their access to better economic opportunities and contribute to efforts to rebuild their countries once they return to them.”
The bank recently launched the “Sabeel” fund in partnership with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, he added, and it also aims to support refugees and displaced persons in Organization of Islamic Cooperation countries and host countries.
The bank has financed more than 2,000 education projects in 136 member and non-member countries, at an estimated cost of more than $5 billion.
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