"Investing in education is the most cost effective way to drive economic development, improve skills and opportunities for young women and men, and unlock progress on all 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Financing education is indeed the best investment we can make." -- United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, 20 Sept 2017.
Despite the overwhelming evidence of the myriad benefits of education to individuals, families, and societies, education in emergencies continues to be underfunded by both governments and humanitarian actors alike.
Conflict-affected countries, in particular, are spending around 3% of national income – below the global average of 4% and the recommended target of nearly 6%. With so many of the world’s out-of-school children and adolescents living in conflict-affected countries, investing in education should be a priority for external donors when governments fail to do so, but most countries in protracted crises do not receive enough humanitarian financing.
Adding to the problem, not only does the education sector have one of the lowest requests for resources in Humanitarian Response Plans, but it also receives a small share of what is requested – a double disadvantage.
After accounting for projected domestic spending – governments bear primary responsibility for ensuring the right to education of their citizens – a minimum of US$38 per child and US$113 per adolescent annually is needed from external funding to ensure all children and adolescents in conflict-affected countries can go to school. As it stands, to fill the financing gap needed to reach the 33.8 million out-of-school children and adolescents in conflict-affected countries, US$2.3 billion is required: this is 10 times what was given in humanitarian aid to education in 2014.
Although the figures for adequately providing education in all crisis contexts are high, the cost of NOT doing so is far higher.
“Allowing the education of millions of children and youth to be cut short by conflict and other emergencies is not just ethically indefensible, it is economically ruinous.”
Kevin Watkins, ODI
Working together through the mechanism of the Education Cannot Wait Fund (new in 2016), the education in emergencies sector is seeking change in five priority areas:
Education Cannot Wait - a fund for education in emergencies is an education crisis fund designed to transform the global education sector, including both humanitarian and development responses. Launched at the World Humanitarian Summit in May 2016, following extensive consultation and dialogue among a range of stakeholder, the fund aims to deliver a more collaborative, agile, and rapid response to education in emergencies in order to fulfill the right to education for children and young people affected by crises.
The Education Cannot Wait Fund will scale up resource mobilization over the first five years, commencing with an aim to raise approximately $150 million in the first year and with an ambition to bring funding to a level of $1.5 billion in the fifth year. This involves an overall 5-year fundraising ambition of $3.85 billion. The Fund’s resource mobilisation efforts will aim to bring in new, untapped resources, rather than reallocating existing funds.
This Overview of Education Financing Mechanisms is a key messaging document on education financing. Prepared with inputs from the International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity, the Education Cannot Wait fund, and the Global Partnership for Education, the paper outlines what collective actions on financing are needed to get all children in school and learning by 2030.
The overview is designed to assist stakeholders in dialogues with donors, policy-makers and any other supporters, and clarifies the shape of the overall aid architecture for education. By setting out the challenges facing the education sector, it presents clear pathways for donors to contribute and collectively mobilise the necessary financing to achieve SDG4.
Our overall success is centred around 5 key actions-
An International Finance Facility is a partnership between developing countries, international financial institutions, and public and private donors to mobilize new financial resources for low- and middle-income countries. Building on the findings of the Learning Generation report released in September 2016, the Education Commission proposes an International Finance Facility for Education (IFFEd) that could mobilize an additional $13 billion annually for education by 2020.
The Facility would bring together public and private donors, alongside international financial institutions such as the World Bank and regional development banks, to raise additional financing for education and ensure it is used more effectively so that children are learning. The Facility would create attractive financing packages for lower-middle-income countries that would be interest-free or low-interest. These desirable financing streams would be linked to developing countries increasing their own education investments and making education reforms.
The Education Commission is calling on world leaders to pledge support to the International Finance Facility for Education proposal during the July 2017 G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany. Further, the Commission has identified Pioneer Countries – many of which are already making their own strides on education – that are committed to raising education outcomes to the level of the world’s top 25 percent fastest education improvers and increase investment of national income in education from the current 4% average to 5.8%. This pledge would be the foundation for Financing Compacts with the international community, including potential IFFEd funding for eligible countries.
The Global Partnership for Education (GPE) strengthens the delivery and finance of education in the 89 low and lower middle income countries that are farthest away from reaching SDG4. GPE works closely with governments and other partners to secure sustained domestic and external resource commitments to finance and implement strong national education sector plans. GPE’s finance is results-based and funds implementation, knowledge sharing, innovation and enhanced social accountability to improve the equity and quality of education. GPE’s “Leverage Fund” will also crowd in non-traditional financing into the education sector (e.g., rewarding every $3 of private sector investment or MDB financing with $1 of GPE grant funding) and increase the affordability of concessional finance for low and lower middle income countries.
The INEE Reference Guide on External Education Financing (2010) is a resource that explains donor education funding strategies and mechanisms. It is a user-friendly tool for country-based stakeholders (particularly national governments), to inform their decision-making and implementation of effective education financing modalities. Written from the donor point of view, this guide is not an analysis of the pros and cons of different funding mechanisms, nor is it a “how to” guide for applying for external education assistance.
In October 2008, the INEE Working Group on Education and Fragility held the INEE Policy Roundtable on Education Finance in States Affected by Fragility in Brussels, Belgium. The event was generously hosted by the European Commission (EC), and supported by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and the UK Department for International Development (DFID). The event brought together a diverse group of experts and practitioners – donors, UN and NGO professionals, and researchers/academics – from education and other sectors and aimed to satisfy the following objectives:
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