Aid has played a key role in supporting the Education for All goals. But now that support is in danger of being undermined as donors distribute aid through non-government channels, fail to coordinate their efforts sufficiently, or turn away from education altogether. As education partners gather to debate the post-2015 agenda, new analysis of aid trends by the EFA Global Monitoring Report team underlines the need for a post-2015 financing goal – and a fresh commitment to education aid.
Since the EFA goals were established, aid from donors belonging to the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee Aid (DAC) has been indispensable in boosting progress towards the goals. Nevertheless, they have failed to keep the promise they made in 2000 that no country would be prevented from achieving Education for All by a lack of resources. This failure, which is one reason the goals have largely not been met, is now being compounded by changes in aid priorities that threaten education progress.
As representatives from Western Europe and North America meet in Paris on December 5-6 for a regional consultation meeting on education after 2015, co-hosted by UNESCO and UNICEF, the EFA Global Monitoring Report team is releasing a paper on aid trends. Our analysis shows that a post-2015 goal on education financing is crucial to make sure donors not only stick to their promises in future, but also renew their commitments to providing aid in a coordinated way that supports recipient governments.
Although aid to education has risen over the past decade, there are signs of reversal since 2010. Low income countries, which account for 37% of out-of-school children, have been hardest hit, facing a reduction of 9%. This is a worrying trend: while domestic funding is the most important source of funding for basic education, aid plays a particularly vital role in the poorest countries.
It is not just the amount spent by donors that matters, but also how these resources are allocated. The EFA movement, through the Dakar Framework for Action, encourages country-led education planning: for aid to be effective, donors need to channel their funds via government systems wherever possible. Unfortunately, our analysis shows that DAC member countries reduced the share of aid they channelled via the public sector from 42% in 2008 and to 36% in 2011.