Which are the biggest aid donors to education?

The recent new policy paper by the GEM Report shows that aid to each of the three education levels – basic, secondary and upper secondary education – has grown in the latest annual release of data from 2018. The last blog on this site looked at where aid to education is being allocated. This blog examines who the main donors are and for what education level.

The United States and Norway have prioritized aid to basic education

Of total aid to basic education, DAC member bilateral donors accounted for 57%, non-DAC bilateral donors (such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates) for 11%, and multilateral donors for 32% in 2018. The United States, the World Bank, the United Kingdom and the European Union institutions together accounted for over 50% of total aid to basic education in 2016–2018.

The United States allocated US$1.3 billion to basic education in the period, more than twice as much as each of the other three donors, whose spending amounted to about $630 million on average. The bulk of the United States’ education aid (84%) is allocated to basic education, while the next three donors, as well as the two large non-DAC donors, allocated just half of their education aid to basic education; Germany and Japan allocate an even lower share.

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How much aid is spent on education and where does it go?

English / Español

While the main message of our new policy paper on the latest figures of levels of aid to education is that COVID-19 is a serious threat to aid recovery, it would be a shame not to give greater attention to the positive story that we uncovered before the pandemic arrived. In 2018, total aid to education reached the highest amount ever recorded, US$15.6 billion. This is an increase of 9%, or US$1.25 billion, relative to the year before.  Broken down by education levels, between 2017 and 2018, total aid increased by 6% in basic education, by 7% in secondary education and by 12% in post-secondary education.

Compared to 2010, when aid to education hit its previous high point shortly before the great financial crisis’s impact on ODA started to be felt, aid to education has grown by 16%, while aid to basic education has grown more slowly at 10%.

Even without a pandemic to contend with, however, there is still much room for improvement.

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Creating inclusive learning environments for students with learning differences from marginalized communities

By Rachel Brody, Global Director, Programmatic Partnerships and Inclusive Education, Teach For All

Inclusive education is at the core of our collective vision at Teach For All—a world where educators, policymakers, parents, and students are working together to ensure that all of their communities’ children have the foundation they need to shape a better future for themselves and all of us.  The 2020 GEM Report on Inclusion and Education is rooted in the premise that “education systems are only as inclusive as their creators make them”. Across our global network of organizations in 53 countries, we have seen the enormous amount of effort required in reimagining education and un-learning systems of oppression, listening to communities, and evolving mindsets, skills, and knowledge to be able to create inclusive settings that truly open up opportunities  for us to learn with and from every student.

Image: Connor Ashleigh/DFAT

Over the past several years, one of the key focus areas for our collective learning has been on the topic of education that is inclusive of all learners. In partnership with the Oak Foundation Learning Differences Programme, we launched a Fellowship to bring teachers and teacher coaches together to explore how to create more inclusive learning environments. After several iterations of this Fellowship, in 2019 we conducted a global scan—a survey and individual interviews—in which we engaged with teacher trainers and developers, teachers, and students from across our global network in order to learn more about the progress they are making towards creating inclusive learning environments for students from marginalized communities who also have intellectual and/or physical disabilities. Similar to the GEM Report, we learned that while there are many barriers and obstacles to be addressed, we are also seeing the implementation of innovations and practices that are supportive of inclusion.

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Everyone should have the chance to become whatever they want to become

By Vivian Onano, Youth Advisor, Global Education Monitoring Report Advisory Board

Today, the GEM Report is launching its youth report on inclusion and education. It shows that too many young people miss out on equal chances in education. As the youth adviser to the Report, I wrote the foreword for this new publication because I know that my story would not have been possible without education. Growing up in a disadvantaged village in Kenya, I saw many girls like me lose their chance at a good education because of poverty and child marriage. At 13, I left home to attend the Starehe Girls Centre, a centre for excellence for academically talented girls from disadvantaged backgrounds, becoming one of the many young people around the world who have to travel far from their homes to receive a good education. I came a long way in more than one way: because of the educational opportunities that I had, I was able to fulfil my potential and become a youth leader and activist. The chance to become whatever one wants to be is a chance that should be available to everyone.

I have been advising the GEM Report team on the multiple activities it has been running throughout the year to engage young people in its calls for change. Inclusion in education impacts us, it involves us and it needs us to happen.

Look, for instance, at some of the people that were nominated in the GEM Report’s campaign for champions in inclusion and education. Twelve such champions feature in this new Youth Report one of whom I am interviewing, on Instagram Live on the GEM Report’s Instagram page soon. Join us to hear Brina Kei M Maxino, from the Philippines, talk about being born with Down syndrome, and how she overcame discrimination, bullying and low expectations to receive a college degree in history and be chosen as a Global Youth Ambassador for Special Olympics. Young people are not and should not be passive in the fight for inclusion as so many of these stories show.

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Three innovative responses to COVID-19 that have removed barriers to learning for the most marginalised

By Janet Lennox and Wongani Taulo

Since COVID-19 burst onto the world stage, headlines have mounted about the millions of children suddenly out of school due to the closures during countries’ lockdowns. Lessons from earlier school closures, such as the Ebola crisis in West Africa, tell us that the most marginalised children may be left behind. The 2020 Global Education Monitoring Report also sounds the alarm, warning that educational opportunities continue to be unequally distributed, leaving the most marginalised children at higher risk of further exclusion because of COVID-19-related school closures. That begs the question – what about the 1 in 5 children who were previously out of school or those in school but on the margins, at a high risk of dropout before the COVID-19 pandemic struck?

With COVID-19 school closures, the world has witnessed unprecedented efforts among global education actors and government to safeguard the education of children and ensure continuity of learning while children are at home. Innovative remote learning modalities have been explored to reach children wherever they are, and, in the processes, highlighted the fact that learning can take place even beyond the school gates. While some of these strategies have been successful, some have not, and not all children have been successfully reached. However, one point is clear, even when children are not in school, they can still be given opportunities to learn and participate effectively to enjoy their right to education. This now begs the question: can countries’ responses to COVID-19 overcome barriers to learning for all children, beyond those affected by current school closures? Can those remote learning strategies that have proved effective to reach the most marginalised children be adopted and adapted to reach the most marginalised children including those who were out of school pre-COVID-19?

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COVID-19 poised to set aid to education back by six years

Screenshot 2020-07-09 at 10.20.43A new GEM Report policy paper released today shows that total aid to education reached its highest ever levels in 2018, the latest available year. However, it estimates that global aid is likely to decline by up to US$2 billion from 2018 to 2022 as a result of recession caused by COVID-19, entailing a 12% drop in international support for education.

This means that without new measures, aid to education would only reach 2018 levels in 2024, which poses a serious threat to the recovery of education from the unprecedented disruption caused by the pandemic.

The lost learning as a result of COVID-19 means aid to education will be more important than ever before. The paper, COVID-19 is a serious threat to aid to education recovery,  calls for donors to provide flexible funding so that support to the sector can be realigned and help countries get back on track.

Prior to the pandemic

Aid to education in 2018 reached a record US$15.6 billion, an increase of 9% from the previous year. From one year to the next, aid rose by 6% for basic education, 7% for secondary education and 12% for post-secondary education, providing each with the highest amount of aid ever recorded.

Screenshot 2020-07-10 at 14.41.56

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A new comparable learning assessment designed in the Global South, For the Global South: Exploring the ICAN 2019 Findings

By Ketan Verma, PAL Network and Hannah-May Wilson, Education Partnerships Group

Ambika’s house was built with red bricks and a corrugated steel roof and had spectacularly clear views of the Himalayas. We visited her village to understand whether children went to school and what they were learning. Ambika had two children, Ayush (10) and his little sister Anu (8). They were in Grade 6 and Grade 4. As we sat on Ambika’s porch, parents from neighbouring houses wandered over. We showed Ambika and the other parents the simple numeracy assessment we had brought for the children. One parent, Yam, looked at the test and said, “This test is too simple”. Ambika agreed: “I have seen similar tasks in Anu’s school textbook when she was much younger”. Yam, Ambika and the other parents were sure their children would be able to do these simple tasks, since their children had been going to school for several years.

2020_PAL Network_ICAN launch_Nepal

Credit: Muhammad Usman, PAL Network

Introducing ICAN

The simple assessment that we showed Ambika and the other parents is the PAL Network’s new International Common Assessment of Numeracy, “ICAN”. ICAN is an open-source, easy-to-use assessment tool that is currently available in 11 languages. Just like the traditional citizen-led assessments (CLAs) conducted by PAL Network member organisations over the last 15 years, ICAN is administered orally, one-to-one so as to include all children, irrespective of their ability to read. It is carried out in households, and the results therefore show learning levels across all children, whether they are in school or not. Continue reading

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How the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting contract teachers in sub-Saharan Africa

By Peter Wallet, Teacher Task Force and Pierre Varly, Consultant

The COVID-19 pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on education systems. At its height, 194 countries had implemented country-wide school closures, affecting 63 million primary and secondary teachers. Sub-Saharan Africa has not been spared during this crisis, witnessing country-wide closures affecting some 6.4 million teachers.

Screenshot 2020-07-09 at 19.01.57To shed light on the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on contract teachers in sub-Saharan Africa, the Teacher Task Force conducted desk research and numerous interviews with representatives of ministries, trade union and UNESCO National Commissions. The research is supplemented by data collected through the joint UNESCO/UNICEF/World Bank Survey on National Education Responses to COVID-19 School Closures.

 The Teacher Task Force is also publishing a Review on the use of contract teachers in sub-Saharan Africa, which takes a closer look at the situation of contract teachers in 23 countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

Closures have had consequences for all teachers. However, for contract teachers the negative effects have been greater. Contract teachers are those recruited through alternative pathways and working outside traditional employment arrangements supported by a civil service collective agreement.

Contract teachers receive a salary for the work they perform but do not receive the benefits that apply under public sector norms and standards, such as annual leave, pension or health insurance.  As a result of their status, contract teachers typically receive lower remuneration and have less job stability, as their employment is subject to public budget fluctuations, market pressures and education providers’ ability to pay. Continue reading

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All teachers should be prepared to teach all students

Tomorrow, the GEM Report, the Teachers Task Force at UNESCO and Education International are co-hosting an event on teachers and teaching for inclusion. Inclusion cannot be realized unless teachers are agents of change, with values, knowledge and attitudes that permit every student to succeed.  Below are some of the core points to have come out of the 2020 GEM Report on teaching for inclusion that will be the focus of the event.

Inclusive teaching adapts to student strengths and needs. It requires teachers to be able to recognise the experiences and abilities of every student and to be open to diversity. They need to be aware that all students learn by connecting classroom with life experiences, and thus embed new ideas and skills in problem-solving activities. While many teacher education and professional learning opportunities are designed accordingly, entrenched views of some students as deficient, unable to learn or incapable mean that teachers sometimes struggle to see that each student’s learning capacity is open-ended.

Cartoon 4 - Inclusive learning - Colours

Teachers may simply not believe that inclusion is possible and desirable. Teachers’ attitudes often mix commitment to the principle of inclusion with doubts about their preparedness and the readiness of the education system is to support them. In Lebanon, teachers did not believe all students with disabilities could be successfully included, for example. In 43 mostly upper middle and high income countries, one in three teachers reported that they did not adjust their teaching to students’ cultural diversity. Continue reading

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Global Citizenship Education after the COVID-19 crisis?

By Marta Estellés, University of Cantabria, Spain and Gustavo E. Fischman, Arizona State University, USA

During the COVID-19 crisis, educational responses have been mainly geared towards minimizing the problems derived from school closures and mantaining educational services. While it is understandable to desire the certainity that normality provides, we believe that returning to the pre-existing educational models may not be desirable for the great majority of teachers, students and families. As graffittied on many Hong Kong walls, “We can’t return to normal, because the normal that we had was precisely the problem.”

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Image: Mikhail Brentnol

In educational terms, the COVID-19 pandemic implies much more than a disruption to normal schooling that can be solved by the rapid deployment of pedagogical interventions such as digital learning models, alternative scheduling and physical distancing in classrooms and schoolyards. Granted, these were interventions in a time of crisis that may have helped to mitigate the historically unprecedented suspension of schooling for almost 1.6 billion students worldwide. However, they shouldn’t prevent us from ignoring the pre-COVID-19 negligence of most education systems to promote empathy and to encourage democratic forms of engagement and collaboration among citizens and governments from other regions of the world.

In this context, it would not be surprising if various educators, policy makers and scholars in the broad field of global education soon start to demand more Global Citizenship Education to address the pedagogical shortcomings revealed by the COVID-19 crisis. Indeed, some have already started. Yet, we wonder: can Global Citizenship Education models provide an adequate response to the COVID-19 crisis? Continue reading

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