Theater of Cruelty

This is how "Generation educated" becomes a reality

EDUCATION / Sustainable decline in international education aid deprives half of all children in developing countries – about 800 million – the education they need to secure meaningful work in the future.


Total educational aid (from bilateral and multilateral sources) has dropped from 13,2 billion to 13 billion this year and now accounts for only 7 percent of the world's total aid budget. This means that all development aid in the world is not worth much more than 10 dollars per needy child; It is not even enough to pay for a used textbook.

In developing countries, the average level of education is 100 years after the West. In Africa, on average, only 200 dollars per year are spent per child at school, while developed countries spend 40 times as much: $ 9,500 per head. Although the international community has pledged that the population should have education at primary and secondary level within 2030, at least 200 million children a year will be without school space until then, and at least 400 million will not receive education beyond primary school level. While African and Asian countries seem to have plenty of labor, an endemic lack of skills due to inadequate education means that they cannot attract the necessary national investment to create further development.

At the global level, the share of total educational aid funding has steadily dropped from the 11 per cent peak in 2007, despite the fact that it is widely known that education is one of the most important means of achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for health, employment and quality of life. The recent announcement by the EU that the Union will dedicate 10 percent of its humanitarian aid to education is welcome, but hardly adequate.

At least 400 million of today's children will not receive education beyond the elementary school level.

It is true that the international community has indicated some relative success, such as providing school space to almost 60 percent of Syrian refugees. However, it is a fact that a significant proportion of the world's 30 million displaced children – 12 million of whom are refugees – will not set foot in a classroom during their own school age. In the world's 35 conflict zones, 75 million children are now denied both education and prospects for future jobs.

It is obvious that international aid for schooling and education must be increased. But when $ 40 billion a year is lacking just for primary and secondary education, it is clear that we need a new approach. In addition to mobilizing private sources of funding, we must also ensure that the already available assistance ($ 13 billion this year) goes beyond what it has previously done, by making it attractive to governments that receive funding, to increase their own investment in education. .

Private Funds

Fortunately, a number of private funds were formed last year, both so-called ESG funds (which take environmental, social responsibility and business ethics into account) and sustainable development goals to meet the growing need for investment based on social benefits. In India, it is now required by law that employers channel two percent of the profits to philanthropic purposes. And all over the world, companies are being challenged to create accounts that take into account environmental and social impacts.

Those who are involved in educational assistance also use innovative ways of financing after having been laggards in this field for a long time. Foremost among the new funding initiatives is the new International Education Commission's [launched 2015 with Norway as one of the driving forces, edited] international funding measures for education (FFEd), which will be launched during the UN General Assembly in September this year. With plans to raise $ 10 billion for education, IFFEd is based on two other public-private partnerships that have been successful in recent years.

The first is International Finance Facility for Immunization, which since its inception in 2006 has raised over $ 6 billion by issuing capital market bonds to be repaid over 30 years with a type of investor-managed fund from Australia, Brazil, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, South Africa, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom . IFFIm, which raises money GAVI Alliance [who work to facilitate access to vaccines for children in poor countries, ed.], has already contributed to 700 million children being vaccinated, which has saved about five million young lives.


The other source of inspiration for IFFEd is the Advanced Market Commitment model [a scheme where a government or other financial institution guarantees a market, editor's note], which makes it possible to obtain new medicines on the market. Using $ 1,5 billion in an AMC for pneumococcal vaccine, the GAVI Foundation – along with the World Bank and other multilateral institutions, donor countries and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation – has helped vaccinate 49 million children, preventing a quarter of a million deaths due to of pneumonia in children under five years.

With a similarly structured public-private partnership, IFFEd aims to put an end to education-like education. Instead of being dependent on a periodic cash flow, it will ensure continuous and stable financing of schooling for children aged 5–16 years. With 2 billion in funds guaranteed by various governments, the World Bank and various regional development banks will be able to raise four times as much money from capital markets. And by setting aside $ 2 billion for a favorable scheme that reduces interest costs, they can raise $ 10 billion extra for educational assistance – that's almost a double of the current level.

In 2015, the UN, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank made a commitment to go from “billions to trillions” to “meet the investment needs of the UN's sustainability goals”. They realized that public-private partnerships were crucial in maximizing the value of international aid. In order not to break yet another promise related to development assistance, we must now take action. If we can educate an entire generation of children, then we have written history. It's time to get started.
Gordon Brown, former prime minister and finance minister in the United Kingdom, is now the United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education and head of the International Commission on Funding for Global Education Opportunities. He heads the Catalyst Foundation Advisory Board.

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