Former PM Julia Gillard announced as chair of Global Partnership for Education

Former prime minister Julia Gillard has been appointed as chair of a global education program that aims to get the world's poorest children into school.

The Global Partnership for Education is an international initiative made up of nearly 60 developing countries, donor governments, international organisations, the private sector and civil society groups.

As head of the partnership, Ms Gillard will be in charge of fundraising efforts to help educate more than 50 million children worldwide who are without education.

Ms Gillard, who served as education minister before becoming prime minister in 2010, says there is no higher priority than to help children who are still lacking in basic education.

"I am delighted to take on this new role with the Global Partnership for Education," Ms Gillard said in a statement.

"I believe that with 57 million of the world's children still lacking access to a basic education and 250 million children unable to read, write or master simple math, there can be no higher priority."

Ms Gillard also expressed concern for the lack of global funds for education.

"I am also alarmed about the recent sharp decline in donor support to education that threatens the progress achieved over the past decade, particularly for girls' education," she said.

"The global community must respond generously to the upcoming call for a renewal of multilateral, bilateral and national financing for basic education."

The chief executive of Global Partnerships is former JPMorgan senior banker Alice Albright, the daughter of Madeleine Albright who served as US secretary of state in Bill Clinton's administration.

Ms Albright described the former prime minister "as one of the world's most articulate and effective advocates for improving access and quality of education for children in the poorest countries".

"As chairwoman, Ms Gillard would lead a board of directors representing 18 different constituencies from developing country governments, donors, civil society organisations, private sector and foundations, and multilateral agencies and regional banks," Ms Albright said.

The latest financial report of the fund shows it holds cash of more than $1 billion, most of which has been committed for grants for education in developing countries. 

The organisation states on its website: "In the last 10 years, we have grown from seven to close to 60 partner countries, mobilised more than $3.6 billion to improve access and quality to education."

"[We] helped nearly 22 million children go to school for the first time, supported the construction of over 52,000 classrooms, and trained over 300,000 teachers."

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