Revitalized Gillard goes back to her ‘passion’

Julia Gillard, former prime minister of Australia and current chair of the Global Partnership for Education board, said ensuring strong replenishment for the 2015-2018 campaign is her top priority. Photo by: John Tass-Parker / Global Partnership for Education

When Julia Gillard lost a crucial leadership vote and resigned as prime minister — and from politics — in late June 2013, many thought the feisty leader would retreat from the public eye. Indeed, appearances in the media from this once very public figure came few and far between.

But Gillard seems ready to be back not only in the spotlight but to her “passion.” Last month, Australia’s first female prime minister and former education minister assumed a new post as chair of the Global Partnership for Education board of directors.

GPE, which works with 66 developing countries, aims to raise $3.5 billion in pledges for its 2015-2018 replenishment campaign and launch a new funding model that, according to Gillard, will “reward change as it happens.” But more than just finding funds for education, GPE helps all partners at the country level — developing country governments, donor governments, international organizations, civil society and nongovernmental organizations, and the private sector — work together to ensure that education aid is better coordinated and more effective, based on countries' own education strategies.

As GPE board chair, Gillard is responsible for making sure resources are channeled toward achieving some tough goals in global education: support 29 million children in primary and lower secondary school, with 23 million coming from fragile and conflict-affected states; help more girls complete primary and secondary school; and reduce dropout and repetition rates in both primary and lower secondary school by 10 percent.

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    Anna Patricia Valerio

    Anna Patricia Valerio is a Manila-based development analyst focusing on writing innovative, in-the-know content for senior executives in the international development community. Before joining Devex, Patricia wrote and edited business, technology and health stories for BusinessWorld, a Manila-based business newspaper.