The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has urged governments and donors to increase their spending on education and ensure that funds are utilised more efficiently and distributed more equitably.
The organisation, according to a report issued last Thursday, indicated that the private sector also had a vital role to play in mobilising resources for education.
The report also said that in many countries around the world, significantly less public resources were used to educate children in the poorest society, compared to their counterparts in the most affluent societies and pointed out that the difference could be as much as 18 times.
The report, Investment Case for Education and Equity, says on average, 46 per cent of public education resources in low-income countries directly benefit 10 per cent of students who are the most educated, while in lower-middle income countries, the figure is 26 per cent.
This imbalance disproportionately favours children from the most affluent households who typically attain the highest levels of education.
The report, the first in a series being released by UNICEF this year with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, strongly advocates more equitable education spending. It calls on governments to prioritise the needs of the most marginalised children — the poor, girls, ethnic and linguistic minorities, children with disabilities and those living in conflict zones.
“There are approximately one billion primary and lower-secondary school-aged children in the world today. That’s one billion reasons for investing in education,” said Yoka Brandt, UNICEF’s Deputy Executive Director. “Too many of these children do not receive quality education because of poverty, conflict and discrimination due to gender, disability and ethnicity. To change this we need to radically revise current practices by providing more resources and allocating them more equitably,” the report indicated.
Crisis in education
The report also highlights a further serious crisis in education, pointing out that progress in increasing access to schooling has stalled — with 58 million children who constitute children in the primary school age, it is clear that Millennium Development Goal 2 (achieve universal primary education) will not be met. In addition, many of those currently attending classes are not actually learning, since data reveal that 130 million children who reach Grade 4 do not master the basics of reading and arithmetic.
This situation will worsen as the size of population constituting children of school age increases. To achieve universal basic education, the world will have to enrol an additional 619 million children between the ages of three and 15 in school by 2030; an increase of 57 per cent on today’s figures.
Annual funding gap
The report indicated that there was an annual funding gap of $26 billion for the provision of universal basic education in 46 low-income countries, and since 2009, official development assistance to education had decreased by 10 per cent. To put this into perspective, just five per cent of the annual profits of the world’s 15 highest-earning companies would eliminate this resource gap.
“We have known for a long time that education can break the cycle of persistent poverty and disadvantage for children, families and countries. But to do this, governments and the private sector need to, not only invest more, but also invest more wisely in education,” Brandt said.
Source: Daily Graphic
|Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are those of the writers and do not reflect those of Peacefmonline.com. Peacefmonline.com accepts no responsibility legal or otherwise for their accuracy of content. Please report any inappropriate content to us, and we will evaluate it as a matter of priority.|