"A good education is a passport to better opportunities and a better life. The Australian Government's aid programme will assist more children in our region to get a better education. This is important because it's hard to be literate and numerate without attending school; it's hard to find work without a basic education; and it's hard to live well without a job." - The Honorable Tony Abbott MP, Prime Minister of Australia

Watch the video message from Australia's Foreign Minister Julie Bishop


As a champion country for the Global Education First Initiative (GEFI), Australia is committed to increasing access to quality education and strengthening the systems necessary for effective education policy and delivery. Our efforts, both national and international, have a particular focus on reaching the most disadvantaged, those excluded from learning because of poverty, location, gender, ethnicity, or disability.

The Australian Government’s policy framework for school education is based on the commitments made in the Students First package of reforms. In partnership with states and territories and the non-government sector, the Government will work to improve outcomes in Australia’s schools by focusing on teacher quality, school autonomy, engaging parents in education, and strengthening the Australian Curriculum.

Internationally, education is an important pillar of Australia’s aid program. The Australian Government’s development policy Australian aid: promoting prosperity, reducing poverty, enhancing stability articulates Australia’s commitment to education as a driver of economic growth, human development and stability across the Indo-Pacific region.

Gender equality and empowerment of women and girls is a critical issue and a priority for the Australian aid program. Australia’s Ambassador for Women and Girls engages in international advocacy in support of Australian Government policies and programs to empower women and girls socially, politically and economically, end violence against women and girls and improve access to health and education services.

In Afghanistan, Australia has supported more girls to be educated by investing in community schooling approaches (closer to home and with female teachers) as well as funding teacher training for ninth grade female graduates to teach at local primary schools.

Australia is also a strong advocate for disability-inclusive development. Building on the success of the Development for All 2009-2014 strategy, the Australian Government will develop a new disability strategy to ensure that people with disability play an active and central role in Australia’s aid program beyond 2015.

Australia is a key destination for students from around the world, with thousands of students from the Asia-Pacific region coming to Australia each year to study, including students funded under the Australia Awards. Australia Awards are prestigious international scholarships and fellowships funded by the Australian Government offering the next generation of global leaders an opportunity to undertake study, research and professional development. The New Colombo Plan is supporting the movement of students in the opposite direction – from Australia to our region – by funding study and internship opportunities for Australian undergraduate students across the region. These programs are developing partnerships between governments, universities and business and fostering deeper relationships and understanding with regional neighbours.

Australia is an active participant in multilateral fora including the Global Partnership for Education, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), the East Asia Summit (EAS) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Participation in dialogue and activities under the auspices of these organisations allows Australia to contribute to the post-2015 development agenda, build deeper understanding of Australia’s education system and encourage open, transparent and more effective coordination of regional education systems.

Education is key in building peace and prosperity, stability and security in our region and beyond.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the 2013 UN General Assembly.


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