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250 million children without basic education, a record amount of funds pledged for Global Education

The Education for All Global Monitoring Report policy paper published this June shows that 250 million children in the world still lack the basics in education. The total aid to education has decreased by 10%, i.e. by USD 1.3 billion  (EUR 0.95 billion) since 2010, with basic education being deprived of USD 627 million (EUR 460 million) of aid between 2011 and 2012, it is said in the document. 

Sub-Saharan Africa, South and West Asia are the regions with most financial losses in education aid during the past few years. The World Bank and the EU Institutions are among the top donors whose contributions to basic education have decreased significantly in recent years. The trend can be accounted for by the decreasing number of countries classified as low-income - from 64 in 1999 to 36 in 2012. Thus by decreasing contributions, even with the same share of total aid, the funds granted for basic education are scantier. Aid to post-secondary education has also been reduced and it stands at USD 5.2 billion (EUR 3.8 billion) for the year 2012, a fall from the 2010 peak of USD 5.4 billion (around EUR 4 billion). 

The policy paper was released just before the Replenishment Pledging Conference for the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), which took place in Brussels on 25-26 June 2014. The conference brought together some 800 delegates including more than 40 ministers, education experts, and representatives from the civil society, business and youth leaders from 91 countries. The aim of the Conference was to collect USD 3.5 billion (EUR 2.6 billion) for education from international leaders for the period of 4 years (2015-2018), but the amount of more than USD 28.5 billion (EUR 20.9 billion) raised instead was far beyond expectations. 

Major contributions came from 27 developing countries themselves, who promised to increase spending on education by USD 26 billion (EUR 19 billion). The EU, the UK, Denmark, Norway and Sweden pledged over USD 2.1 billion (EUR 1.5 billion), which is an increase of 40% since 2011. A generous contribution of USD 300 million came from Microsoft, the first time that the private sector was involved. The funds raised will allow 20% more children to complete primary education and 36% more students to complete lower secondary education. 

Global Partnership for Education will focus on 4 areas in the coming replenishment period: equity and access; quality and learning; system efficiency; data and accountability. 

As stated by GPE, pledges are not just financial, but can include better education policies, better data collection and better monitoring systems.