Unsustainable debt holding back education funding in developing countries, finds expert panel with EAA Foundation, World Bank and partners
Debt, declining development aid, and lack of domestic funding are holding back efforts to achieve access to quality primary education for all children. This was one of the key takeaways from a high-level panel of finance experts held today by Education Above All (EAA) Foundation, a leading global education foundation, in partnership with the World Bank, the Government of Sierra Leone and the Islamic Development Bank.
Entitled “Roadblocks to Achieving SDG4: The Impact of Education Financing Gaps and Lack of Domestic Resources on Reaching the SDG4 targets”, the panel discussion, held at the Qatar Mission HQ in New York, was a key event in the margins of the United Nations General Assembly.
Panellists included H.E. Mr Conrad Sackey, Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education of Sierra Leone, Dr Hiba Ahmed, Director General, ISFD, IsDB-ISFD, Dr Luis Benveniste, Global Director for Education, World Bank, Dr Robert Jenkins, UNICEF, Global Director, Education and Adolescent Development, and Mr. Thomas Beloe, Chief of Programme at UNDP's Sustainable Finance Hub. Mr Fahad Al Sulaiti, CEO Education Above All Foundation hosted the group that was moderated by Dr Manos Antoninis, Director of the Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report.
Speakers stated that in order to support increased access to, and better quality education, in low and lower-middle income countries, especially for those who have been left the furthest behind, we have to be even more creative.
The session found a need to consider how to address the debt burden and find new, innovative and creative ways to engage and harness local resources in addition to hard money, include greater community participation in key aspects of education and better leverage private sector investments in support of future economic outcomes as well as finding greater efficiencies in how existing resources are utilised. Speakers proposed innovative solutions to increase financing, such as improving efficiency and exploring non-traditional funding sources.
Mr Fahad Al Sulaiti, CEO of Education Above All Foundation, said:
“We must urgently reverse the concerning and declining trend in education funding. The COVID-19 crisis has not only disrupted children’s education, but also led two-thirds of low- and lower-middle-income countries to cut their public education budget. To add to this, education is receiving a reduced share of aid from donor countries.
“With an estimated annual USD$148 billion gap in financing needed to reach global education targets by 2030 and achieve Sustainable Development Goal 4 on education. I am hopeful that we can come together and innovate to secure more sources of funding to make sure every child, regardless of their circumstances, can access their right to education.”
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