The ODA to education is stagnating and not going to the countries in most need

The ODA to education is stagnating and not going to the countries in most need

  • Posted: Jul 10, 2017 -
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The new policy paper from the report Global Education Monitoring (GEM) of UNESCO starts by noting that the national expenditure in the countries of low rent and medium low can´t cover the costs to reach the Objective of Sustainable Development (OSD) 4, by which the exterior aid should compensate the deficit. But the help to educacion is stagnated since 2010, and the one that is granted doesn´t go to the countries that need it the most, worsening the perspective to achieve the objectives of global education. Next, reference is made to the main content of this report.

The priority of the help to education has decreased for the sixth consecutive year

The global total of the official help to the development (AOD) increased in 2015 a 5% in real terms (cumulatively increased a 24% between 2010 and 2015). This increment can be partially explained by the immigration crisis and refugees in Europe. However, even when the global ODA increases, the help to educacion stagnates. In 2015, it situated itself 4% less than in 2010, which represents a much more inferior  significant quantity of the necessary one to achieve the SDG 4. According to the report, there are few indications that can suggest that the stagnation of the help to education is connected with the immigration crisis and refugees in Europe; simply happens that the donors change their priorities at the expense of education. For example, the transportation sector, that recently would only receive two thirds of what it provided to education, now receives the same or more.

The help to basic education must be better allocated

Even though the general help for basic education increased an 8% in a year, it still is 6% below than in 2010. The bilateral donors (whether or not they are members of the CAD) still play a prominent role (62% of the total), but the multilaterals are each time more important.

The report shows that there are different ways to supervise the part of the total help to education given to the countries with low rent, which is an tematic indicator for the SDG 4.5. . An approach would be to focus in the countries with the lowest incomes classified by the World Bank, the majority of them in Sub Saharan Africa.  With this measure, the countries of low income received in 2015 the 19% of total help to education and a 23% of help to basic education. Both parts were kept constant during 10 years, but abruptly fell in 2015 with the 13% decrease of the global help to education and a 16% of the help to basic education in the countries with low incomes. Another standpoint would be to examine the classified countries by the United Nations as the least developed, where there would enter 48 countries in front of the 32 countries classified by the World Bank. Finally, another standpoint would be to examine the distribution of the help to basic education by religion. The report concludes that the help to basic education should be alienated with the costs that would involve to educate all the kids that are not attending school.

In this way, for example, the cost to provide schooling thr 49% of kids not educated in Burkina Faso would be near 182 million dollars, but this country only received 17 million dollars in 2012. In contrast, the cost to provide schooling to a 2% of kids not educated in Zimbabwe would be of 11 million dollars but the country received 31 million in 2012. This means that the donors must rationalize the money in base of the necessity level of each country.

In this line, the World Alliance for Education (GPE) with a 77% of their disbursements assigned to Sub Saharan Africa and almost a 60% to countries affected by fragility or conflicts, reaches the countries that need it the most. Their model of allocation is based on two elements: the necessities of the educative sector of the partner country and the level of rent of the country in question.

The help to secondary education fell almost a tenth part in 2015

In 2015, the total help to secondary education decreased a 9%, dropping to similar levels to the ones in 2009-2010. In accordance with the data of 2015, three of the country from the G7 weren’t between the 10 first donors to secondary education: Canada was in the number 11, United States in the 15 and Italy as number 18. The bilateral help of the donors of the CAD for secondary education was 14% less in 2015 than in 2009. On the other hand, the help of the multilateral donors to secondary education has increased a 25% since 2009, in spite of a decrease of 10% between 2014 and 2015. As a result, the multilateral donors represent the 38% of the total help to basic education in 2015, in comparison with the 32% in 2009.

The humanitarian ODA to education increased in more than half in 2016, but it continues to be completely insufficient.

In the last five years, the financing requests for the education in emergency cases has increased a 21%. Since 2013, the financing in this sector has recovered, in 2016 it increased in a 55% reaching a historical maximum of 303 million dollars. However, this quantities are insufficient. The education in emergency received the 2.7% of the total of the humanitarian help, extremely below the objective of the 4%. In 2016, the sector received the 48% of what it had asked for in terms of humanitarian aid, in comparison with an average of 57% in all the sectors.

The view of the help to education is changing

The actual levels of help to education are very below the necessary quantities to reach the SDG 4. But the existing programs and several emerging financing schemes can help to restore the balance:

  1. The current campaign of replenishment of the World Alliance for Education (GPE) seeks to raise $3.1 billion for the time of 2018-2020, with the objective of financing $2 billion annually for 2020, four times more than the actual financing level.
  2. The International Instrument of Financing for Education (IFFEd), proposed by the International Commission about the Financing of the Educational Opportunities in the World, could promote close to $10.000million in additional financing per year for 2020, used for the development banks expand their project of education and they focus on the countries with incomes that are medium to low.
  3. The fund Education Cannot Wait established in 2016 has as objective to raise $3.850 million from now until 2020, it would transform the provision of the education during emergencies.


Donors should work coordinately so the three initiatives avoid expenses of administration that are unnecessary and the duplication of efforts. However, the new financing facilities aren´t sufficient: the donors must try hard in turn and to substantially increase the revenue of the international funding to education. Moreover, they must increase their commitments (at least the 0.7% of GDP to help and a 10% of this quantity for education) and assure that the help to education goes where it is more necessary.