Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development pursuant to the answer of 6 October 2008, Official Report, columns 94-96W, on Africa: education, with which multilateral organisations the Government is working in each country referred to; how much funding his Department has allocated to each such organisation in each year it has been funded; how much and what proportion of such funding has been allocated to (a) country systems and (b) third parties; what objectives and key performance indicators have been set for the educational fast track initiative; which are the 18 countries expected to benefit from the scheme; what support his Department has provided to (i) teachers census in Sierra Leone, (ii) capacity technical assistance for joint educational sector support in Rwanda, (iii) the Association of African Universities initiative and (iv) the Revitalising Education Association for Development of Education in Africa: Books Work Group; what steps his Department has undertaken to determine the quality of education provision in each of the sub-Saharan countries; and how many new schools for primary children have been funded by each country referred to in the answer as a result of his Departments intervention. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis:
As stated in the answer of 6 October 2008, Official Report, columns 94-96W, the Department for International Development (DFID) provides core funding to a number of multilateral organisations that work to develop education in Africa. This core funding is not sector or country-specific but is our contribution to the organisations overall programme budgets. The
organisations manage their own development programmes and DFID is not directly involved. It is not therefore possible to attribute our funding to specific projects or programmes. However, to provide a further indication of the destination of UK Government aid, DFID uses the overall proportions of Official Development Assistance reported by the relevant agencies to the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to impute a UK contribution.
The principal organisations concerned, the UK Government core contributions to them and the imputed UK share of multilateral official development assistance for education in Africa for 2006-07 are as follows:
|UK core contributions 2006-07
|Imputed UK share of multilateral ODA for education on Africa
It is not possible to disaggregate how our contributions to these organisations have been allocated in terms of the delivery methodology.
The Education for AllFast Track Initiative (FTI), was established in 2002. The FTI is a partnership consisting of all the major donors in education, over 30 developing countries and five major civil society organisations. It seeks to accelerate progress towards the millennium development goals of universal primary education and gender parity in education by 2015 through providing further aid and building local capacity. FTI works by forming a compact between development partners based on the principle of one country, one plan, one process. National government with donor partners prepare an
education sector development plan linked to the broader poverty reduction strategy and the budget. This is evaluated against the FTI indicative framework and endorsed if found to be compliant. FTI endorsement of national plans provides an assurance to donors that those plans are credible and bankable thereby encouraging bilateral and multilateral investment. The indicative framework also provides the basis for ongoing national progress monitoring.
FTI partners expect the FTI to contribute to increasing access to good quality education for all, particularly girls and address the particular challenges of education in fragile states. The FTI process follows best practice on harmonisation and alignment in line with the Monterrey Consensus and the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness resulting in increased impact and reduced transaction costs. Further details on FTI are available on the FTI website at
There are now 19 African countries that have benefited from funding from within the FTI Umbrella. Eighteen of these (Benin, Cameroon, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Niger, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal and Sierra Leone) have received support as a result of a fully endorsed plan through the Catalytic Fund. Liberia has received support from the UNICEF administered transition fund established to meet the needs of fragile states that are not in a position to prepare the detailed plans demanded for Catalytic Fund support. The Central African Republic is currently in the advance stages of securing Transition Fund support.
As set out in the answer of 6 October 2008, we are providing support to the Teacher Census in Sierra Leone, to the Capacity Building Technical Assistance for the Joint Education Sector Support Project in Rwanda, to the Association of African Universities Revitalising Education Initiative and to the Association for Development of Education in Africa Books Working Group.
To support a capacity building programme to promote and enhance the networking role of the Association of African Universities (AAU) in relation to leading regional and national African associations in higher education
Improving the quality of education in Africa continues to be a concern in all countries where DFID supports education. It has long been a key consideration in the design of our interventions in the education sector. Some of the main areas where qualitative improvements are targeted include enhancing the quality of teachers, reducing class sizes, improving both the content and the availability of textbooks, providing more supplementary reading material and improving the monitoring of learning achievement through diagnostic testing and primary
school examinations. These and other factors that contribute to improved education services in Africa should be priority areas in the support that we are providing to education and we will continue to ensure that they remain so.
In addition, DFID is funding an education research consortium on Education Quality (£2.5 million, 2005-10), led by Bristol University. This is investigating different aspects of education quality (eg school effectiveness, language and literacy issues) in partnership with the Universities of Bath, Witwatersrand, Cape Coast and Dar es Salaam and the Kigali Institute of Education.
The nature of our involvement in the education sector varies from country to country. In some, our support is through general or sectoral budget support, whereas in others it is through technical assistance or through third parties such as UNICEF or NGOs. We cannot therefore generally attribute construction of schools directly to DFIDs funding. However, some examples of what is being achieved are:
In Tanzania, we provide General Budget Support of which 18 per cent. is allocated to the education sector, with half of that going to primary education. In 2007-08, the Tanzanian Government built a total of 1,263 classrooms, 277 teachers houses and 939 pit latrines for primary schools.
In Kenya, we contribute more than a third of the US$325 million of donor funding supporting the Education Sector Support Programme, the Kenyan Governments five-year sector plan for 2005 to 2010. It covers 23 investment areas, of which primary school infrastructure is one. These funds have enabled the following to be achieved to date:
4 new primary schools completed and a further 16 are 80 per cent. complete.
4,000 primary schools have received infrastructure improvement grants which have enabled the following
1,882 new classrooms built, 3,868 classrooms refurbished and 32,406 new desks supplied
4,200 new latrines built.
1.7 million children have benefited from the infrastructure programme so far and a further 500 schools will receive infrastructure grants within the next two months.
In Malawi, it is possible to attribute the construction of 602 primary classrooms and 157 teachers houses to DFID funding in 2007-08. A further 654 primary classrooms and 291 houses are planned for this year. Some 4,000 classrooms have been constructed since 2001.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what IT projects his Department is undertaking; and what the most recent estimate of (a) the cost and (b) the completion date of each is. 
The ARIES Finance, Reporting and Procurement system provides a centralised enterprise resource planning system for all DFID users. The current total contract value is £17.6 million and the project is due to complete in September 2009.
The Web Transformation project aims to bring DFIDs website into line with new Government guidelines and updated content management processes. The most recent cost estimate is £2.5 million and the project is anticipated to finish in July 2009.
The Knowledge and Information Management Programme has a current cost estimate of £6.8 million and is due to complete in March 2011.
The Information Technology Infrastructure Programme (ITIP) aims to improve DFIDs global IT infrastructure. The current cost estimate is £5.0 million with the programme due to complete in March 2011.
Mr. Douglas Alexander: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 31 January 2008, Official Report, column 663W. There are currently seven press officers employed at the Department for International Development (DFID).
Communication is integral to the work of the Department, and many staff in different teams in our two United Kingdom headquarters and network of overseas offices are involved in communication work. It is not, therefore, possible to identify all such staff without incurring disproportionate cost.
Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what requirements his Department makes regarding user fees when funding national primary education plans in developing countries. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Department for International Development (DFID) expect the countries to which we provide direct support to have plans in place to remove tuition fees. To be successful, and to protect standards, the removal of fees needs to be part of a comprehensive, long-term plan for universal primary enrolment. Support from DFID, in the form of long-term predictable funding, is helping governments achieve this aim but other donors also need to provide long-term flexible funding to ensure the removal of primary tuition fees.
Many of the countries that DFID prioritises for support have already removed tuition fees or are working towards their removal. The high cost of education is the biggest deterrent to poor families educating their children, particularly for girls. In addition to tuition fees, other direct costs include uniforms and textbooks, teachers and Parent Teacher Association fees, transportation as well as hidden costs such as lost household and/or paid labour. Such costs have a significant impact on whether and which children are educated.
Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what representations he has received on the International Monetary Funds placing of caps on teacher recruitment in developing countries; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: Civil Society Organisations have regularly raised this issue and I agree it is important that wage ceilings do not restrict the ability of governments to hire teachers. The Department for International Development welcomes the recent changes agreed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to significantly reduce the use of wage ceilings. If any ceilings are agreed with the government as part of an IMF programme, they will need explicit justification and the need for them will be subject to regular reassessment. The IMFs new approach makes clear that ceilings should allow for full spending of higher aid flows and take measures to safeguard priority sectors, such as education.
James Duddridge: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development pursuant to the answer to the right hon. Member for Horsham of 19 June 2008, Official Report, column 1187W, on Dorneywood: official hospitality, what use his Department has made of Dorneywood for official engagements in the last 12 months. 
Mr. Michael Foster: I refer the hon. Member to the reply given by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Cabinet Office, my hon. Friend the Member for West Bromwich, East (Mr. Watson) on 20 October 2008, Official Report, columns 90-91W.
Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development pursuant to the Answer of 6 October 2008, Official Report, column 112W, on environment protection: overseas aid, who the signatories are to each voluntary partnership agreement; and in which countries the agreements will support improved forestry governance. 
Mr. Thomas: The first Voluntary Partnership Agreement, between the European Union and Ghana, was signed by Mr. Stefano Manservisi, Director General for Development of the European Commission and the hon. Esther Obeng Dappah, Minister for lands, Forestry and Mines of Ghana. This Agreement has now entered the process of ratification by Ghanas Parliament and adoption and ratification by the European Council of Ministers representing the interests of all European Union member states. All subsequent Voluntary Partnership Agreements will be signed by representatives of the European Commission and the government of the country concerned. All Voluntary Partnership Agreements will support improved forest governance.
Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development which organisations shared the £2 million given by his Department via the Global Cluster Appeal; and what the arrangements were for distributing that funding. 
Mr. Michael Foster:
In 2007-08, the Department for International Development (DFID) provided £2 million to the UNs Global Cluster Appeal to agencies involved
in the Protection, Camp Co-ordination/Camp Management (CC/CM), Emergency Shelter, and Logistics clusters.