Promoting quality education for all.

The Evidence is Clear: Financing for Education is Inadequate

by A World at School, 

by A World at School

It’s been 15 years since world leaders committed to improving lives of those living in poverty through the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). These goals have been an important point of reference for how far we’ve come, what remains to be done and the existing challenges. International donors also made a commitment that “no countries seriously committed to education for all will be thwarted in their achievement of [universal access] by a lack of resources.” 

Despite the progress made since 2000, 58 million children have no access to quality education, and there’s less than nine months left to achieve MDG 2. There’s been a disturbing increase in attacks on education, a dramatic decline in both domestic and donor funding for education, and a new set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) waits to be enacted in September 2015.

A World At School’s newly released “Donor Scorecard” shows the dramatic decrease in donor investment in basic education and calls on world leaders to reverse the decline. Aid to basic education in declining, very fast, and almost all donors have scaled back funding since 2010.

Countries need donor support to get to the finish line

Many of the poorest countries rely on aid to be able to reach the most marginalized children. Of the 29 countries with over 500,000 children out of school, 20 of them are in sub-Saharan Africa—home to over half of the world’s children out of school, according to the MDG 2 Scorecard released by A World At School in February. Furthermore, 26 of the 29 countries profiled in that scorecard are considered to be fragile or conflict-affected. Despite the need for urgent action to reach the children marginalized by conflict, poverty, child labour and child marriage, 13 countries in Africa have had their basic education cut since 2010.

Kolleen Bouchane, Director of Policy and Advocacy for A World At School echoes, “Our scorecards are an effort to take what we all know and make it as clear as possible what is and is not happening. While financing is a complex challenge, the fact that we don’t have enough of it and that donors are scaling back when they should be scaling up, is crystal clear. The erratic cuts, unpredictability and inadequacy of donor funding hugely undermine global progress towards achieving universal primary education.”

The evidence from A World At School scorecards echoes UNESCO’s Global Monitoring Report launched last week—a comprehensive annual report showing the trends, challenges and success towards achieving all of the education goals. Over 250 million children are not learning, 36 of 58 million of children out-of-school are in conflict-affected countries, an increase from 28 million in 2014.

“For these scorecards, we did not have to create new data to show what is happening. The evidence has been there and continues to build. What’s missing is a great enough level of outrage. We’ve painted a picture with the evidence that will hopefully flag the need for greater outrage, ambition and ultimately investments,” noted Chiedza Mufunde, a research assistant with A World At School.

As we approach the 2015 deadline and make final decisions on the post-2015 development goals, it is imperative for donors to:

  1. Increase resources to match the urgency of reaching the 58 million children out of school.
  2. Agree to a framework for coordinating bilateral aid and support countries in their efforts to get children into school.
  3. Create a humanitarian fund for financing education in emergencies.
  4. Increase multilateral aid targeted towards those children living in poverty and conflict and emergency situations

A World At School commits to creating a message that no government, politician can ignore. The #UpForSchool petition will become the world’s largest petition calling world leaders to keep their promises to financing universal education. Because nothing changes without pressure, join the movement and sign the petition, at

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