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- As Delivered -

WASHINGTON—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today delivered the following remarks in the United States House of Representatives in support of the Education for All Act of 2016 (H.R.4481):

“Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of this legislation and I yield myself as much time as I may consume.

“Let me again thank our Chairman, Ed Royce, for his leadership.  And I want to acknowledge my good friend and neighbor from New York, Nita Lowey, who authored this bill and has long been a champion for expanding access to education, not just here in the United States, but around the world.

“Mr. Speaker, a recent report from the United Nations tells us that around the world, more than 260 million young people are not in school.  Two-hundred-and-sixty million.  That’s a staggering amount.  Millions more are only able to gain a substandard education. So we cannot overstate the importance of getting young people off to a good start by getting them into the classroom.  Every year of primary school increases an individual’s earning potential by five to 15 percent.  More educated populations are healthier and more productive.  So it’s a win all the way around.

“And promoting access to education isn’t just about helping young people reach their potential.  It’s also about enhancing security and stability.  For every year a young man spends in school, the likelihood of him becoming involved in violence and extremism drops by 20 percent.  In places like Afghanistan and South Sudan, where roughly half of children are not in school, we know that violent extremists and others are only too happy to provide a rotten alternative for these vulnerable young people.

“That’s why access to basic education needs to be a foreign-policy priority.  This legislation calls for a five-year strategy for expanding opportunities for kids to go to school all over the world—especially where children are most vulnerable.  It would put a new point-person in charge of making sure that our efforts across government are coordinated and effective.  And it would place a special emphasis on monitoring and evaluation, so we know we’re getting the best bang for our buck when it comes to our investments in basic education.

“So, this is a good bill that will actually help to put children in classrooms around the world, giving them a better shot at a full and successful life. I again thank my friend, Nita Lowey.  I’m proud to support this bill.  I thank the Chairman, and I reserve the balance of my time.”