The Australian Education Union (AEU) has joined the call to support vulnerable nations through the #EndCOVIDForAll campaign.
As part of the campaign, the AEU urges the government to partner with global institutions, Australian non-government organisations, and regional neighbours and increase its financial support to address the worst impacts of COVID-19 on the world’s most vulnerable nations and communities. Its motto is: “COVID-19 is not over until it is over for everyone”.
Public education deeply impacted by COVID-19 crisis
“Whether it is for ourselves, including our First Nations children, or our global neighbours, we have the responsibility to advocate to make governments accountable,” stressed AEU Federal Secretary and Education International’s President, Susan Hopgood.
She added that “public education for many students in the 178 countries with Education International’s member organisations will continue to be adversely impacted until we end COVID for all”.
The campaign’s objectives are to:
- Start by protecting those who are most vulnerable to COVID-19 and its impacts
- Strengthen health systems and protect essential aid programmes
- Help kick-start economic recovery in the region to secure a bright future for all
So far Australia has:
- Deployed health experts to a World Health Organization regional office and the Solomon Islands’ Ministry of Health
- Provided more than 2.6 million pieces of protective equipment to 23 countries and territories
- Given more than AUD100 million (€60.5 million) to Pacific countries to meet basic running costs
- Pledged AUD300 million (€181 million) to improve access to vaccines in the Indo-Pacific
- Helped Pacific nations with – laboratories, medical equipment, health expertise, and public information campaigns, helping to ensure the continued supply of essential medical and testing equipment, critical personnel, and food and essential supplies
However, prior to the pandemic, Australian aid had been steadily decreasing since 2013 and is at its lowest ever level — just 0.21 per cent of the country’s gross national income. So far, Australia’s COVID-19 response for vulnerable nations has come through re-purposed funding and at the cost of important existing aid programmes.