§ Mr. Alexander
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development in what ways her Department supports the education of girls in poorer countries; and if she will make a statement. 
§ Clare Short
Education of girls is probably the single most effective investment in development that any country can make. We are strongly committed to the international development targets of achieving universal 107W primary education by 2015 and gender equity in primary and secondary schooling by 2005. Our three-fold strategy involves (i) contributing to the development and co-ordination of international policies and programmes designed to achieve education for all; (ii) strong, well-targeted country programmes—with priority to sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia—which will provide assistance to Governments and civil societies committed to universal primary education and gender equality; and (iii) research strategies that will contribute to the ability of the international community, to share experience and monitor progress. Over the last three and a half years, we have committed over £400 million to support primary education programmes, all with a strong focus on gender equality. We will do more.