The Global Partnership for Education (GPE) Country-level Evaluations – Final Synthesis Report of April 2020, has stated that overall, international funding to education increased in 14 of the 27 countries for which data were available and declined in four. In nine countries, education Official Development Assistance (ODA) was stable or fluctuated. However, education as a share of overall ODA fluctuated or declined in about two thirds of the sample countries, suggesting negative global trends in international education financing during the country-level evaluations (CLE) review periods. As per UNESCO, the share of education in total official development assistance, excluding debt relief, largely declined in the 2010s, from 10 percent in 2010 to 7 percent in 2017, indicating that during that period education declined as a priority among donors. During the CLE review periods, total amounts of international education sector financing increased in over half (14/27) of the sampled countries for which data were available, fluctuated or were stable in nine, and decreased in four. Education as a share of overall ODA decreased in eight, fluctuated or remained stable in nine, and increased in ten countries indicating that, globally, education is not growing as a priority among donors. Sierra Leone, Cambodia, Guyana, Liberia and The Gambia are the only reviewed countries in which both the amount of international education financing and education’s share of total ODA increased during the CLE review period, while in Burkina Faso, Mauritania and Zambia both figures decreased. During 2018 – 2019, the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) commissioned 28 country-level evaluations (CLE), 20 of them summative and eight prospective. Summative evaluations were conducted at or around the time of GPE Education Sector Plan Implementation Grant (ESPIG) completion in a country, while prospective evaluations followed GPE’s activities and programs from 2017 up until 2019 with the intent to provide a continuous review of the effectiveness of GPE’s operational model in the respective countries. Global trends in aid for education UNESCO, citing the 2015 Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report, notes that there is an annual funding gap for basic education of at least $39 billion USD per year between 2015 and 2030 in low- and lower-middle-income countries. “To make up the shortfall, aid to education would need to increase six-fold from its 2010 levels ($13.4 billion USD). This has not happened, although most recent OECD data indicate a slight positive trend, with total aid to education, which had stagnated since 2010, increasing to $14.8 billion in 2017 and $15 billion USD in 2018,” according to the GPE report. The report notes that in most countries, the number of development partners investing in education remained largely stable, albeit with fluctuations, while their number declined in Mauritania. Non-traditional (non-DAC) donors are in most cases not included (or choose not to participate) in sector dialogue and monitoring mechanisms. This indicates fragmentation of education aid.
By Zainab Iyamide Joaque