From 24-30 April, UNESCO organised the Global Action Week for Education, an international event that is run each year by the Global Campaign for Education in order to raise awareness of the importance of education for all. This year, the goal has been the financing of education, under the heading “Financing the future”.

A special panel event entitled “Financing the SDG4 of Education 2030: Leaving no one behind – what will it take to narrow inequality gaps?” was held in conjunction with the Global Campaign for Education, in which the opportunities and problems of financing the new agenda were analysed.

Given the funding gap, governments were asked to spend 15-20% of their budgets on education and donors to increase their support, which has been gradually falling since 2010.

Although many countries now spend the recommended percentage on education, they still have difficulties in covering basic educational needs. According to the UNESCO’s Institute for Statistics (UIS), Ethiopia, for example, assigns 27% of its total budget to education, 6% of which is spent on primary school teaching. Yet two million children between 6 and 11 years old do not go to school in the country; that is, 13.5% of the primary-school age population.

The cost of education is one of the reasons that 124 million children and young adolescents do not go to school.

In addition, the IEU has prepared a set of interactive maps contrasting data on aid to basic education from the Creditor Reporting System of the OECD’s Development Aid Committee with UIS data on out-of-school children. These documents show that aid does not necessarily reach those countries with the greatest number of children out of school.

The limited data on education finance and multiple funding sources make it hard to see the whole picture. For this reason, the UIS, in conjunction with the IIEP, is developing a set of methodological tools as part of the National Education Accounts initiative, to help countries improve the quality of their data and better target policies and plans.

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