UNESCO flays drop in education aid to Africa
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has decried the sharp drop in education aid to sub-Saharan Africa in the last six years.
A report published by UNESCO’s Global Education Monitoring (GEM) revealed that total aid to education between 2011 and 2017 amounted to $12 billion, which is four per cent lower than the amount allocated in 2010 while total development aid increased by 24 per cent within the same period.
Specifically, the report stated that aid to basic education, including pre-primary and primary education as well as adult education and literacy programmes was $5.2 billion; six per cent lower than the 2010 allocation while secondary education received $2.2 billion, representing 19 per cent of total aid to the sector.
A statement by GEM Communications and Advocacy Specialist, Kate Redman quoted the Director-General, Irina Bokova as saying that education aid “remains far short of what is needed to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in education, thus putting our commitments at risk.”
She said aids must be improved upon by at least six per cent annually even as she appealed to donors not to shift attention from the poorest countries to achieve its education goals.
“The United States and the United Kingdom remain the two largest donors to basic education, but they reduced their allocations by 11 and nine per cent respectively between 2014 and 2015. Norway and Germany on the other hand, increased their allocations to basic education by 50 and 34 per cent respectively,” she said.
Citing the case of Africa, Bokova, lamented that education aids to sub-Saharan Africa are not being allocated according to needs.
She noted that the region, which is home to over half of the world’s out-of-school children now receives less than half the aid to basic education it obtained in 2002.
“This amounts to 26 per cent of total aid to basic education, barely more than the 22 per cent allocated to Northern Africa and Western Asia, where nine per cent of children are out-of-school.”
“In contrast to trends in bilateral aid to education, the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) allocated 77 per cent of its disbursements to sub-Saharan Africa, and 60 per cent to countries affected by instability and conflict,” the statement added.
The GEM report also identified country-specific examples of donors’ biased resource allocation and concluded that aid was not allocated according to out-of- school rates so as to meet the cost of achieving universal education in the affected countries.
The report called on donors to reverse the funding trend to the sector, citing the GPE replenishment campaign, which seeks to raise $3.1b between 2018 and 2020; and $2b annually by 2020.