Aid to education has gone down

Timed to coincide with GCE’s Global Action Week, Fund the Future, we have estimated the latest aid figures for education showing that levels went down 4% between 2013 and 2014. The share of total aid being allocated to education also fell from 9.5% to 8.2%, indicating that the sector is falling further down the list of priorities for donors.

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Aid to basic education, providing for pre-primary and primary education as well as basic skills, has decreased by 5% since 2013, an even greater fall than for education as a whole. And this while out of school numbers for primary education are on the rise, totaling 59 million by latest counts according to the UNESCO Institute for Statistics.

GCE graphicThe GEM Report has previously calculated that aid to education needs to increase by at least six times to fill the annual finance gap of $39 billion in order to provide 12 years of quality education for all. Yet the latest analysis shows that, rather than rising, levels of aid to the sector are 8% lower than they were in 2010. This will make education progress extremely difficult, or impossible, for many countries still reliant on financial support from donors.

Indeed, it is the countries most in need of aid that are getting the least. Smaller shares of aid are being allocated to basic education in low income countries, where the need is greatest, dropping a sixth since 2002-3 levels.

SSA out of schoolThe share received by sub-Saharan Africa of total aid to basic education has fallen from 49% in 2002/03 to 28% in 2014, even though the region accounts for over half of all out-of-school children.

Between 2013 and 2014, four donors, France, Japan, Netherlands, and Spain, reduced aid to basic education by 40% or more. The United Kingdom reduced aid to basic education by 21%, or almost twice its rate of reduction of total aid to education, and is no longer the largest bilateral donor. Its place has been taken by the United States, which increased aid to basic education by US$164 million or 23%.

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Neither is aid per child delivered according to need. For example, the average child in Mongolia receives US$45 even though the primary completion rate was 97% in 2010. By contrast, Chad, where the primary completion rate was 28% in 2010, received US$3 per primary school age child in 2014.

These figures make for sombre reading.

Governments around the world have just signed up to an enormously ambitious and promising vision for education and lifelong learning over the next fifteen years, an agenda they know is crucial if even greater ambitions for sustainable development are to be realized by 2030. Words on pages are not enough. There is simply no way these targets will be reached if there are not enough funds to do the work.

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  1. The brief analysis is useful in indicating the disturbing trend in reduction of education in aid to education by bilateral donors in Europe,especially UK ,in recent years.However readers would like to know why this is happening and what could be done to arrest and reverse these trends to meet the ambitious ED 2030 agenda.

  2. Aid to education should be promoted to consolidate the funding of education. However, given the current situation, more innovative education financing mechanisms- for example, Public-Private-Partnerships (PPP) should be encouraged.

  3. Great post. Educational funding should not be left alone to international development partners, national governments and communities should also participate in supporting education of their children e.g. ensuring that school budget approved and released by government are spent judiciously. Parent’s little commitments or donations to schools within their environment makes a lot of sense in educational funding as well.

  4. Educational funding should not be left to international agencies alone as funding through other sources such as multinational companies, Corporate bodies and levies through education tax are other sources which funds for this sector could b derived if the 2030 education for all agenda should be achieved

  5. The trend was really not a good one, but I’m pretty sure donor nations were disappointed by recipient nations on implementing partner guidelines which most often are either not fulfilled or disregarded. We need to be serious with undertakings if at all we want to see more aid.

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