Education Financing

Topic(s)
Education Financing

According to Sustainable Development Goal 4, the international community clearly prioritizes education for the most vulnerable children and youth. However, education in emergencies remains chronically underfunded.

Key Challenges of Financing Education in Emergencies

The international education aid architecture has been widely critiqued as not fit for purpose in terms of reaching those in contexts of crisis. According to the 2019 Global Education Monitoring Report, US$800 million has been spent annually on refugee education—which experts estimate represents only one-third the amount needed to achieve education for refugee students. Traditional donor financing typically requires countries to display good performance as a condition for lending, assuming a degree of stability not feasible for many countries experiencing emergencies. Much international aid to education is state-based, which presents logistical challenges when funding education for migrating populations. And aid distribution often suffers from slow, bureaucratic, and inflexible processes, which cannot adequately respond to situations of sudden emergency.

Domestic financing of education in conflict-affected countries is inadequate. Although the Education 2030 Framework for Action endorses allocations of at least 4% of GDP or 15% of public expenditure, the majority of low-income countries, including those affected by emergency, struggle to effectively mobilize this level of domestic financing.

As it stands, to fill the financing gap needed to reach the 33.8 million out-of-school children and adolescents in conflict-affected countries, a funding gap of US$39 billion USD per year must be addressedAlthough governments bear primary responsibility for ensuring the right to education of their citizens, after accounting for projected domestic spending a minimum of US$38 per child and US$113 per adolescent annually is needed from non-domestic funding sources to ensure education in conflict-affected contexts. 

The education sector has one of the lowest requests for resources in Humanitarian Response Plans, and also receives only a small share of what is requested – a double disadvantage. Global humanitarian funding to education reached US$450 million in 2016, of which US$301 million addressed humanitarian response plans. UN-coordinated appeals have elicited only a fraction of the amount needed, with an estimated 41% shortfall. Of total humanitarian aid, education received only 2.1%.

GEM Reports Education Financing Graph
Source: GEM Report, 2018

Financing to education in emergencies requires increased cooperation and coordination between humanitarian and development aid agencies. Humanitarian aid traditionally supports short-term emergency response, often inadequate given the high number of protracted crises worldwide and the average long duration—over a decade—of refugee status. Organizations have responded to this humanitarian-development divide in education through innovative financing mechanisms, including the Education Cannot Wait Fund

Sustainable Development Goal target 4.5 aims to “ensure equal access to all levels of education and vocational training for the vulnerable, including persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples and children in vulnerable situations.” Yet education in contexts of emergency—sites of clear vulnerability—remains chronically underfunded. With 3.7 million refugee children out-of-school, external donors ought to prioritize education when governments fail to do so. Despite the high costs of providing education in crisis contexts, the cost of inadequate funding to education in emergencies is far higher.

This collection was developed with the support of Francine Menashy, Associate Professor in the Department of Leadership in Education at the University of Massachusetts Boston.

INEE Reference Guide on External Education Financing

Published by
Inter-agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE)
Published
Arabic
Bosnian
Croatian
English
French
Serbian
Spanish
Manual/Handbook/Guide

The INEE Reference Guide on External Education Financing was developed by the INEE Working Group on Education and Fragility in response to requests from education specialists for an easily accessible description of the different types of external assistance for education. 

INEE Framing Paper 2 - Financing for All: Beyond the Primary Need

Published by
Inter-agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE)
Published
English
Report

This paper explores the extent to which post-primary education options are being financed, what approaches are being taken and the opportunities and challenges for supporting post-primary education in the future.

Education Cannot Wait

Published by
Education Cannot Wait (ECW)
Published
English
Website

Education Cannot Wait (ECW) is the first global fund dedicated to education in emergencies and protracted crises.

Education Cannot Wait – Case for Investment

Published by
Education Cannot Wait (ECW)
Published
English
French
Spanish
Advocacy Statement

When conflict or crisis erupts, the educational needs of children and youth are often the last consideration – an afterthought following food, water, shelter and protection.

Financing Education: Opportunities for Global Action

Published by
Brookings Institution
Published
English
Report

This report reviews the financing efforts for the education sector in developing countries during the past decade and assesses what will be required in the coming years to reach the basic education goals by 2030.

Financing Matters: A Toolkit on Domestic Financing for Education

Published by
Global Campaign for Education (GCE)
Published
English
Manual/Handbook/Guide

This toolkit has been produced by the Global Campaign for Education (GCE) in collaboration with ActionAid International (AAI) and Education International (EI), and with funding from the Global Partnership for Education (GPE).

Global Partnership for Education

Published by
Global Partnership for Education (GPE)
Published
English
French
Website

GPE is a multi-stakeholder partnership and funding platform that aims to strengthen education systems in developing countries in order to dramatically increase the number of children who are in school and learning.

Humanitarian Aid for Education: Why It Matters and Why More is Needed

Published by
United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Office (UNESCO)
,
Education for All Global Monitoring Report (EFA GMR)
Published
English
French
Spanish
Policy Document

This paper describes how the humanitarian aid systems neglect the education of children and adolescents in countries affected by or emerging from conflict, and more and better targeted aid is needed.

International Finance Facility for Education (IFFEd)

Published by
International Finance Facility for Education (IFFEd)
Published
English
Website

The International Finance Facility for Education (IFFE) is a groundbreaking way to finance education in countries around the world.

Investment for Education in Emergencies- A Review of Evidence

Published by
Overseas Development Institute (ODI)
Published
English
Report

This report finds that: Communities prioritise education over other needs in emergency contexts; Longer term costs of emergencies to education include estimates that reach hundreds of millions – and even billions – of dollars; and Humanitarian aid to education in emergencies is very low, with limited understanding of how this can catalyse other sources of funding.

Policy in Brief: The Consequences of Not Investing In Education in Emergencies

Published by
A World at School
Published
English
Policy Document

Education is an investment. Yet around the world and in some of the poorest countries most in need of investments in basic education, more than 58 million children remain out of school. This policy brief, outlines the necessity of funding in such situations. 

Pooled Funding to Support Service Delivery

Published by
United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID)
Published
English
Research Publication

This document presents the findings from a short research project commissioned by the DFID. This is the output from DFID-commissioned research into the use of pooled funding to support service delivery in fragile and conflict-affected states (FCAS).

Pricing the Right to Education: The Cost of Reaching New Targets by 2030

Published by
United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Office (UNESCO)
,
Education for all Global Monitoring Report (EFA GMR)
Published
Chinese (Mandarin)
English
French
Spanish
Policy Document

This paper shows there is an annual financing gap of US$39 billion over 2015-2030 for reaching universal pre-primary, primary and secondary education of good quality in low and lower middle income countries.

Walk the Talk: Review of Donors’ Humanitarian Policies on Education

Published by
Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC)
Save the Children
Published
English
Report

This review was commissioned by the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) and Save the Children to better understand the landscape of donors’ humanitarian policies on education and the role such policies play in influencing education in emergencies practice.

The Global Partnership for Education and the Evolution of Engagement in Contexts of Conflict and Fragility

Published by
NORRAG
Published
English
Other

With evidence that aid works better in countries with stronger institutions and more effective policy regimes, good governance has long been a prerequisite for investment. What does this mean for international support of the education of children living in fragile and conflict-affected settings, which are by definition settings where governance is threatened?

If Education Cannot Wait, Then Humanitarian Aid Needs to Increase

Published by
United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Office (UNESCO)
,
Global Education Monitoring Report
Published
English
Other

Following the release of the Global Humanitarian Assistance Report 2018, this blog addresses the need to prioritize education financing in the global agenda.