Promoting quality education for all.

Financing Education as a Global Public Good: 1000 Days to 2015 and Beyond

In the process of identifying what has to happen in the 1,000 days before the end of the 2015 education Millennium Development Goal, there has been little discussion of how to finance education initiatives worldwide. The Global Campaign for Education teamed up with four other organizations during its Global Action Week to address this difficult issue. International education financing and policy leaders tackled the issue in a panel discussion, held at the Organization of American States (OAS), titled "Financing Education as a Global Public Good: 1000 Days to 2015 and Beyond."

Panelists included:


  • Camilla Croso, President, Global Campaign for Education
  • Alice Albright, CEO, Global Partnership for Education
  • Kevin Watkins, Senior Fellow at the Center for Universal Education, Brookings Institution (Moderator)
  • Amina Mohammed, Special Advisor of the UN Secretary-General on Post-2015 Development Planning
  • Aleesha Taylor, Deputy Director, Education Support Program, Open Society Foundations


In her welcoming remarks, Sherry Tross, Executive Secretary for Integral Development at the OAS, acknowledged the importance of the issue and said that the panel would:


  • Explore the implications of the new UNESCO financing gap estimates (now $26 billion, up from $16 billion) for basic educations
  • Examine the roles of the Global Partnership for Education, other donor partners, the private sector, and the education community in mobilizing resources - including through innovative finance - and increasing the impact of support to quality basic education during the 1000 days remaining until 2015.
  • Consider the importance of domestic resource allocation in reaching the hardest to reach learners and efforts to expand tax bases through more equitable tax systems.
  • Look ahead at the importance of financing in achieving a new set of education goals in the post-2015 framework.


Panelists then pointed out that one of the most significant barriers to achieving Education for All that merits more discussion than ever is education financing. Financial commitments generated by the international and domestic prioritization of education have been central to the success over the past decade in expanding educational access. However, education resources continue to be skewed toward higher education rather than basic education, and toward richer segments of the population, leaving vulnerable populations behind. Funds may be inefficiently deployed or ineffective at producing high quality educational outcomes for the poorest. Economic pressure in Europe and North America threatens to decrease aid for basic education from traditional donor governments. Meanwhile, alternative mechanisms to fund global public goods are gaining ground, and many countries are exploring the greater use of domestic finances to achieve inclusive growth.

Policy recommendations coming out of the event are below:

Financing Education as a Global Public Good: 1000 Days to 2015 and Beyond

We welcome the leadership shown this week by the President of the World Bank, the Global Partnership for Education, the United Nations Secretary-General, and the United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education in galvanising international action to accelerate progress towards education for all. With 131million children of primary and lower secondary school age still out of school around the world, and fewer than 1000 days remaining until the deadline for the Millennium Development Goals, it is time for urgent new efforts to be made by all parties to reverse the serious decline in financing for basic education. In 2000 the world committed that no country would be left behind in education due to lack of resources. Now is the time for governments to fulfil that promise.

We call on the Governments of all states to:

  • Take urgent action to ensure a minimum of 20% of national budgets, or 6% of GDP, is allocated to education, and ensure that at least 50% of this is dedicated to basic education, with a much higher percentage where necessary.
  • Urgently identify ways of increasing domestic tax bases, and ensure a share of this is allocated to education. Progressive tax reform, action on tax evasion and closing tax loopholes are specific actions that should be taken.
  • Ensure transparency in all budget decisions and allocations


We call on all bilateral donors to:


  • Urgently commit 0.7% of GNI to aid, and allocate a 10% share to basic education in low income countries. 
  • Ensure that the Global Partnership for Education can meet the increased demand for its education grants by meeting the replenishment target of $2.5 billion, and commit to increase contributions during its next replenishment round in 2014.
  • Reallocate aid spent on scholarships and imputed costs to ensure it reaches developing countries.


We call on the Global Partnership for Education to:


  • Mobilize significantly increased financing, delivered to support national education sector plans, to achieve universal free quality public education 
  • Work with its donor partners to create leveraging mechanisms for the World Bank and other regional development banks to make concessional financing more accessible 
  • Establish an "innovation fund" that would help to develop, share or take to scale evidence-based innovative solutions for reaching the most marginalized children.


We call on the World Bank to:


  • Fulfill its 2010 pledge of additional IDA support to basic education in the countries most in need by allocating $1.6 billion per year from now until 2015 to basic education.


We call on European Governments to:


  • Ensure that the European Union's next multi-annual financing framework allocates at least 20% of development aid for health and education.
  • Implement a financial transactions tax and allocate a percentage of the projected revenue for basic education in the world's poorest countries.


We call on new and emerging donors to:


  • Urgently prioritise the provision of predictable aid to basic education.
  • Channel support through the Global Partnership for Education, ensuring that it is harmonised with national government plans and with other donor contributions.


We call on the private sector to:


  • Promote innovative financing mechanisms such as Social Impact Bonds as a means to financing basic education that has the potential to be both high-volume and reliable over time. 
  • Channel their contributions through the Global Partnership for Education, leveraging the coordination, transparency and effectiveness of this pooled funding mechanism.


We call on the international community to:


  • Set a global goal on education financing to hold funders to account after 2015, ensuring that no country is prevented from achieving education goals by a lack of resources. 
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