UNESCO Paper Highlights Financing Gap for Education for All Goals

UNESCO14 March 2013: “Education for All is Affordable– by 2015 and beyond,” a new policy paper by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization's (UNESCO) Education for All Global Monitoring Report team, highlights a widening funding gap for basic education in low-income countries and stresses that this gap will hinder achievement of the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) on the universal primary education 2015 target.

UNESCO published the paper in advance of the Global Meeting on Education in the Post-2015 Development Agenda, which is part of the Global Thematic Consultation on Education. Participants at the meeting, which is taking on place from 18-19 March in Dakar, Senegal, are expected to consider more ambitious education goals for the post-2015 agenda, including universal access to secondary school. According to the paper, this goal would increase the funding gap from $26 to $38 billion per year.

The report states “one vital lesson for setting post-2015 goals is that we cannot take for granted that resources will be available to meet international commitments.” Pauline Rose, Director of the Education for All Global Monitoring Report, said the post-2015 goals “must include a new, time-bound, measurable financing target to hold donor and recipient governments to account for ensuring that all countries provide everyone with a good quality education.”

The paper identifies stagnating aid to basic education in low-income countries as the primary reason for the education funding gap. Although low-income countries have increased domestic spending on education by $3 billion annually, this increase is not sufficient to close the funding gap.

The study concludes, however, that if governments and donors direct 20% of their budgets to education and prioritize basic education, they can contribute to closing this gap. It suggests developing country governments raise money by improving tax systems and more efficiently managing and directing natural resource revenue. The paper further proposes raising funding by: increasing donor contributions from Brazil, the Russian Federation, India, China and South Africa (the BRICS); allocating a percentage of the proposed International Financial Transaction Tax; and increasing private sector contributions.

Education is one of the themes being discussed as part of consultations on the post-2015 development agenda. The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) and UNESCO serve as the consultation co-organizers, with the support of the Governments of Canada and Germany. [UNESCO Story[Publication: Education for All is Affordable[Consultation on Education]