The problem is not just the amount of funding for education, but how the available resources are being spent. In the past decade, tertiary education consistently received the highest proportion of education aid of any education sector, beating out even primary education year after year. Moreover, during this period, seven of the top fifteen donors to education increased the portion of their aid allocated to higher education and consequently decreased the portion to basic education.
Further, this aid to tertiary education isn’t being spent sustainably. A large percentage of growing funds to higher education have been used not to strengthen university systems in recipient countries but rather to provide scholarships for students to attend higher education institutions in donor countries. In 2012, for example, “for every US$1 disbursed in direct aid to early childhood care and education, the equivalent of US$58 went to support students from recipient countries at the post-secondary level in donor countries.”
On a sunny day late in September, I tagged along on a lobbying visit to the Brazilian Embassy in Washington – led by Kailash Satyarthi, with colleagues from the Child Labor Coalition and the International Labor Rights Forum. Following this fall’s swirl of activities at the UN General Assembly and a myriad of meetings about the Beyond-2015 plans (Sustainable Development Goals) including education, Kailash is focused on one thing…ENDING CHILD SLAVERY.