Washington, DC, USA -- On behalf of over 40 organizations, we urge Congress to support the House of Representatives’ Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 funding level of at least $950 million for the Nita M. Lowey Basic Education Fund in the final FY2022 State and Foreign Operations (SFOPS) appropriations bill. This joint letter outlines our funding priorities for international basic education in the final FY2022 State, Foreign Operations and Related Agencies spending bill. As Congress continues its work on a final measure, it is critical to provide at least $950 million for the International Basic Education program account, including $125 million for the Global Partnership for Education and $25 million for Education Cannot Wait, as included in H.R. 4373, the House FY2022 State and Foreign Operations bill and accompanying report language.
On October 18, 2021, the Senate Appropriations Committee released the remaining nine FY2022 Appropriations bills, including for State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs. The Senate FY2022 SFOPS funding level for International Basic Education would decrease funding for bilateral U.S. government International Basic Education programs by 34 percent, cutting the overall Nita M. Lowey Basic Education Fund from $950 million to $682.4 million. As students, teachers, and school systems around the world seek to recover from the largest disruption to education in modern history, the United States must remain a leader in the international effort to improve access to quality education for vulnerable children and youth.
We believe that a significant decrease in funding as we seek to recover from the learning setbacks of COVID-19 would be detrimental to the futures of children and youth around the world. The U.S. must increase and sustain funding to international basic education, and remain a leader in providing access to quality, inclusive education for children and youth. With reports that over 800 million students, and more than half of the world’s student population, still face significant disruptions to their education, and that on average, school-aged children have lost more than two-thirds of an academic year due to the pandemic, the need for education funding has increased exponentially. We are urgently concerned that any decrease in funding would significantly limit education for vulnerable children and youth at the very moment when critical strides must be made to recover from the learning losses of COVID-19.
We urge Congress to provide at least $950 million for the International Basic Education program account, including $125 million for the Global Partnership for Education and $25 million for Education Cannot Wait, as included in the House FY2022 State and Foreign Operations bill and accompanying report language. A unified global effort could not only stave off the worst impacts of the emergency, but could lay the foundation for inclusive education around the world, so we all can build back better.