More money needed to get all children into school by 2015

A major event in Copenhagen next week could make a crucial difference for the 67 million children around the world who are still not enrolled at school. Representatives of developing country governments, bilateral and multilateral agencies, civil society organizations and private foundations will gather at a pledging conference on November 8 to mobilize resources and political commitments for the newly branded Global Partnership for Education (formerly the Education for All Fast Track Initiative).

A major increase in funding for education is long overdue. Despite a recent rise in aid to basic education in 2009, of the US$5.6 billion available only US$3 billion is spent on the world’s poorest countries. This is vastly insufficient given that US$16 billion is needed to ensure all children in these countries are able to go to school, as we highlight in a new briefing paper by the EFA Global Monitoring Report team.

Just four countries benefited from over 80% of the increase in aid to basic education: India, Pakistan, Ethiopia and Viet Nam. Worryingly, anticipated future aid flows indicate that funding for education in countries most in need, especially those in sub-Saharan Africa and South and West Asia, are likely to fall significantly because major donors such as the Netherlands and the United States are shifting their priorities.

As our aid briefing paper concludes, “Recent increases in aid support have helped reduced the number of children out of school, but experience shows that overdependence on a small number of donors can jeopardize such gains. Aid to basic education, in other words, is not only vastly insufficient but also dangerously fragile.”

There appears to be little hope that the fragility of funding for education in the world’s poorest countries is going to change soon. As the leaders of the G20 meet this week in Cannes, France, to discuss key issues in the global economy, their minds are mainly focused on immediate concerns of the Eurozone crisis. To the limited extent that development issues are on the agenda, these almost entirely ignore the plight of children and young people who are denied the opportunity to develop skills they need to find work, as revealed by the communiqué of the G20 finance ministers’ meeting in October.

There is an urgent need to reverse the trends that are keeping education out of the international spotlight – and quickly. The meeting of the Global Partnership for Education in Copenhagen is a real opportunity for aid donors to show their financial and political commitment to the Education for All goals they signed up for in 2000. If they don’t do so next week, there is little hope that the 67 million children still out of school will have the chance to start school before the deadline of 2015.

This entry was posted in Africa, Aid, Asia, Basic education, Developing countries, Donors, Finance, Innovative financing, Out-of-school children. Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to More money needed to get all children into school by 2015

  1. Sur ces quatre pays, 3 (Inde, Pakistan, Ethiopie) ont de plus fortes dépenses militaires que pour l’Education. Ils ne devraient pas recevoir de financements, c’est une honte.


  2. zakia shoaib says:

    If poverty is one cause of illiteracy, then why children are playing on the street from morning till night?
    Why do their parent not send their children to school? If there is a financial problem, then why are teachers taking a salary without going to teach? Why are big government schools being constructed overnight in our country?
    We only need honest and professional educationists. We only need teachers on merit. We only need a law to imprison teachers who do not properly perform their duty and parents who are not sending their children to school. We only need teachers who are trained to create a bridge between education and the daily life of students.

    Believe me, we do not need need any financial assistance, we only need accountability from those who are spending millions of rupees on education. We need awareness among common people to demand accountability from teachers, nothing more.


    • jazrea says:

      I am not from your country, but I very much agree with your statement, “We only need teachers who are trained to create a bridge between education and the daily life of students.” Constuctivism is becoming accepted as the new paradigm in education.

      A major concern I have with the education of children anywhere is the preservation of their diverse cultures and their native languages. Children deserve to see their cultures fairly represented in their classrooms.


    • Alice says:

      in many nations children are forced to work to earn money for the children. you must also think of distance for some people school is not just around the corner they may have to travel to other cities to go to school, without a car. in many LDCs there is not even a school at all.

      looking at all of this it isn’t so easy, you need the money to build the schools, then all you need is teachers and books. the nations aren’t rich enough to buy the books and many families wouldn’t be able to afford the books. also payment of the teachers, who will be able to afford it?


      • jazrea says:

        Thank you Alice for the insights. Educating children in some nations is a complicated issue that requires many steps. I hadn’t realized how much need there was.


  3. Wow. That’s pretty sad. I did not know that 67 million children around the world still do not have access to school.


  4. Political will, involvement of the common man are essential for not only eradication of illiteracy but also of poverty. We need to feel the onus of responsibility on ourselves to get rid of these two to have a world that ensures equality to every global citizen- a utopian wish no doubt, but not a logical impossibility. The task is collosal but is possible, we just need to work in practice rather than mere discussions in air-conditioned conference rooms amongst the chosen few who have little exposure of what plight the poor face. Together each one of us can do it and we will!


  5. Organizations worldwide need to address the fact that 67 million children are not enrolled in school. At The School Fund, we have created a person-to-student online lending platform to reach out to students in need in 12 countries.

    We passionately believe that establishing personal connections will give deserving students the opportunity to attend secondary school. For as little as $150 to cover a student’s school fees for a year, our donors provide access to education. Every student that our organization helps is a step toward closing the education gap.

    We hope that the members of the Global Partnership for Education will be successful in making strides toward closing this gap too.


  6. Peter Mittler says:

    The 2010 EFA Monitoring Report estimated that of the 77 million children who were then excluded from school, 25 million are children with disabilities. It follows that MDG2 cannot be achieved unless their inclusion in EFA begins to become a reality. So far it has barely started.

    UN reports make few concrete proposals on the education of children with disabilities, despite evidence from many countries of the success of inclusive education.

    Now that more than 100 countries have ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons which includes a specific commitment to the right to education, all governments should commit themselves to a five year plan to open their schools to all children with disabilities.

    Peter Mittler
    Former President Inclusion International and UN Consultant in disability and education.


  7. Karen Moore says:

    Thanks for your very important comment, Peter. It is clear that Education for All goals cannot be met if the rights of disabled children are not met.

    As argued in the 2010 Education for All Global Monitoring Report, a wide range of barriers limit the educational prospects of disabled children, particularly in developing countries. Discrimination, stigmatization and neglect, and a lack of inclusive education opportunities with adequately trained teachers and accessible facilities, mean that children with disabilities are undoubtedly among the most marginalized when it comes to accessing and completing school.

    There are ways of improving this situation, even in the poorest countries. For example, in the 2010 GMR we report on efforts to extend inclusive education and train teachers in Lao PDR, to build links between specialised schools for deaf children and mainstream schools in Ethiopia, and to enable specialized teachers in central primary schools to reach a larger group of pupils in satellite schools in Tanzania and Uganda. The support of NGOs is often crucial.

    The 2007 (rather than the 2010) EFA Global Monitoring Report did repeat the longstanding rough estimate that around one-third of out-of school children are disabled. The truth is, when it comes to exactly how many children with disabilities are among the ranks of the 67 million children of primary school age who were out of school in 2009, our knowledge is limited. Since the 2007 report, we’ve recognised that rather than repeating this rough estimate, we need a more robust and up-to-date approximation of the extent of exclusion of children with disabilities from education, particularly in developing countries.

    We don’t yet have a new estimate. A large part of the issue is that until recently there has been very little research on disability as a development issue. Another part of the challenge is that ‘disability’ masks a great deal of diversity – different types and severities of impairment have different implications for educational access in different social and economic contexts.

    The first ever World Report on Disability, produced jointly by WHO and the World Bank and released earlier this year, has significantly helped improve global statistics on disability, including on the education challenges faced by disabled children. And the number of robust country-level exercises continues to grow – for example, the studies on living conditions among disabled people in southern Africa by SINTEF.

    It is important that advocates and policy-makers have robust data to draw on to develop the right programmes and argue for increased investment, and we must move towards an understanding of disabled children’s access to school at the global level.

    But in the meantime, we must continue to improve educational inclusiveness and quality, extend access to disabled children, and advocate for their right to education.

    Karen Moore
    Policy Analyst, EFA Global Monitoring Report


    • Peter Mittler says:

      I still maintain that the EFA reports are far too bland where disabled children are concerned. Even if precise figures are not available, the UN must face the challenge of the exclusion of disabled children from EFA and go beyond generalities and well known examples of good practice.

      More than 100 countries have now ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities which includes a commitment to the education of disabled children and young people within the regular education system. The UN should be providing high-level support and technical assistance to enable member states to develop action plans and targets to ensure that disabled children receive the same priority as has been given to the education of girls.


  8. Pingback: Education for All: Three New Year’s wishes « World Education Blog

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