§ 30. Mr. Connarty
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what action her Department is taking to increase the availability of primary education in the poorest countries. 
§ Clare Short
We are working hard to mobilise the international development system to focus more sharply on the delivery of the commitment to universal primary education by 2015. We have made clear in all forums our view that this goal can only be achieved if primary education is free. We are also working in 29 countries to support delivery of this policy and have since 1997 committed £650 million. We will do more.334W
§ Vernon Coaker
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development (1) what recent assessment she has made of the progress being made to achieving the targets set at the World Education Forum at Dakar. 
(2) what progress is being made in achieving the goal set at the World Education Forum of free universal primary education by 2015. 
§ Clare Short
There are widely different levels of progress against the millennium development goal of achieving universal primary education (UPE) by 2015. In sub-Saharan Africa an additional 88 million children will need to be enrolled in school between 1997 and 2015. This requires a threefold improvement in the rate of expansion achieved from 1990 to 1997. If the current rate of enrolment increase were to be maintained, fewer than half of the 43 countries would achieve even a gross enrolment rate of 100 per cent. by 2015 if this goal is to be achieved. Ten times the previous rate of increase will be needed in countries such as Angola, Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Liberia and Somalia. In South and West Asia the rate of enrolment is less challenging; although the overall numbers of children out of school remains high. It is estimated that an additional 40 million children will need to be enrolled to achieve the UPE target and that this will require the same pace of enrolment increase that was achieved from 1990 to 1997.
Achieving UPE can happen only through reform and action at the country level. But the wider international community, including bilateral and multilateral agencies, have responsibilities and roles in meeting the commitment of the Dakar Framework for Action thatno countries seriously committed to education for all will be thwarted in their achievement of this goal by a lack of resources".The international response to the Dakar commitment has been slow and has lacked effective co-ordination. At the Education for All High-Level Group meeting convened by UNESCO's Director-General in Paris last October, I presented DFID' s paper "Children out of School" which identifies the different circumstances of children who are not in school and proposes an eight-point plan of action for accelerating progress towards the 2015 target.
The Government give high priority to addressing this challenge. We believe that UPE can be achieved by 2015 if the lessons of the past are learned and if governments in developing countries put in place the right policies, and receive appropriate external assistance. We have committed over £650 million to support the development of primary education since 1997. We will do more.
§ Vernon Coaker
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment she has made of the proportion of Britain's aid budget which is spent on health and education; and if she will make a statement. 
§ Clare Short
Health and education are key priorities for the UK's development programme. As well as being fundamental human rights, better quality of and access to health and education are essential if poor people are to benefit from globalisation. Since May 1997, DFID has committed about £800 million to support education in developing countries and over £1 billion on strengthening developing countries' health systems to deliver the health-related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 335W agreed by UN Members. Support to health and education has increased steadily as a proportion of the total programme over this period.
In addition to this bilateral support, and the assistance we are providing to health and education through general budgetary support, DFID provides significant support to wider international efforts to tackle the global health and education dimensions of poverty. For example, we are working to ensure that the international community meets the Dakar Framework commitment that "no countries seriously committed to education for all will be thwarted in the achievement of this goal by a lack of resources". The UK also provides significant support to multilateral agencies tackling the major diseases of poverty. We have taken an active role in establishing the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and malaria (GFATM) and pledged US $200 million over five years.
A full report of our work on health, education and the rest of our programme can be found in our Departmental Report (the 2002 edition will appear in April). In addition, my department's education strategy paper, "The Challenge of Universally Primary Education", sets out the UK's strategy for delivering the MDG of universal primary education by 2015. Similarly, the UK strategy paper "Better Health for Poor People" details our approach to tackling health issues as part of our wider strategy to eliminate poverty. Both of these papers are available on www.dfid.gov.uk.