and Framework of the World Conference on Education for All
(henceforth 'Jomtien') focused attention on basic education.
Agencies were asked to consider ways to assist with basic
education through budgetary support; the provision of technical
co-operation, revitalised partnerships and a supportive policy
examines what has happened to funding agency contributions
to EFA since Jomtien, focusing on financial contributions
to basic education, as well as policy and practice. It is
based on the responses to a survey of funding agencies, supplemented
by data from the Development Assistance Committee of OECD,
as well as a review of literature.
vary in their definitions of basic education. In part this
variation simply reflects a lack of agreement, but can also
be related to their own perceived expertise, their foreign
policy goals and their concerns about their status within
the agency community. It is also a consequence of the inclusive
nature of the consensus reached at Jomtien. Whilst agreement
across agencies is neither feasible nor necessary and agreement
between agencies and partner countries can be on a bilateral
basis, this does pose problems for reporting and comparison,
both nationally and internationally.
that has been received from funding agencies is described
and analysed in Chapter 5; supplemented by data from the Development
Assistance Committee. The context is that the overall volume
of bilateral aid commitment has dropped in absolute terms
during the 1990s (although the high level at the beginning
of the 1990s is partly due to exceptional commitments at the
time of the Gulf War). Aid Commitments to education as a proportion
of overall aid have fluctuated between 6% and 18% but averaged
about 14% over the decade. For those countries providing disbursements
data, proportions of overall aid to education have increased
over the decade. For multilaterals, aid to education has varied
throughout the decade, although overall, it tends to remain
less than 10%. The total absolute volume of bilateral aid
commitment to education has remained roughly the same throughout
the decade at around $85,500m. Multilateral commitments to
education rose from $1000m in 1990, to nearly $2000m in 1994,
falling back to $1,300m in 1998.
aid commitments to basic education (as a percentage of commitments
to all education), have increased from a very low level at
the beginning of decade to an average of 28% in the latter
part of the decade. For those agencies providing disbursement
data, there has been a similarly dramatic increase. Multilateral
aid commitments to basic education (as a proportion of their
commitment to the education sector) have been high throughout
the 1990s at between 40% and 100%, although they report problems
with disbursing their increased commitments. The total value
of bilateral aid earmarked for basic education has increased
to around $500m at the end of the decade and disbursements
(for those agencies providing it) have increased from almost
zero in 1990 to $170m in 1998. Among multilaterals, aid commitments
to basic education have increased from $500m to an average
of $1500m in the second half of the decade.
the main message is the difficulty of collating data, not
only for this survey, but also for the national and international
reporting systems that already exist. In part this has been
exacerbated by the recent emphasis on joint funding and sector
programmes, but there appears also to be a generic problem
of accountability that was remarked upon at the beginning
of the decade; the situation does not seen to have improved
Conference called for targeting of countries and of groups
within countries. Based on what agencies have sent us there
is a clear commitment to human rights and poverty reduction.
Within that overall framework, there does appear to be a focus
on basic education (and especially primary education). This
has paralleled a focus on Africa and, within that region,
a focus on the most highly indebted countries, although different
agencies do this in different ways. Some other agencies focus
on countries "in transition", others have preferred to concentrate
their aid on a small number of countries. However, there has
also been the issue of education programmes specifically for
marginalised groups. The impact of this targeting on the overall
pattern of aid and upon countries in greatest need is less
clear; and the implied conditionality may be unhelpful.
Jomtien, there has also been an implicit debate over the relative
priority as between quantitative expansion to ensure access
and efforts to improve quality. On the whole, where formal
education has been firmly established for some time, the emphasis
tends to be on quality and relevance in order to stop parents
becoming disillusioned and keeping their children away from
school and to avoid disenchantment with education on the whole.
Where formal schooling has not been established for such a
long time, quality and relevance are indeed essential to attract
people but, in addition, non-formal solutions are also promoted.
Increasingly the solution are seen to be context specific
so that decentralisation is the key.
education was highlighted as an area of neglect in the Declaration.
From the documentation, we have received, although most of
the agencies claim to be involved, the actual level of activity
is quite low. Moreover the impression given is that any involvement
is reactive rather than part of a longer term strategy.
was another issue raised explicitly in the Jomtien Declaration
as having an important effect on access and retention. However,
apart from the clear position of UNESCO in favour of the use
of mother tongue as the vehicle for as long as possible, very
few have a stated policy. Partly this appears to reflect a
view that languages policy is a political issue on which it
is not appropriate for agencies to intervene.
delivery systems, such as projects and programmes, are seen
to have failed and often not to have been adopted by the host
government when funding stopped. Instead the emphasis has
shifted to policy dialogue and partnership to ensure that
aid is used in accordance with host governments' policy priorities.
Combined with the necessity to take a longer term view of
financial sustainability, this has led to the progressive
adoption/promotion of 'Sector Wide Approaches' by some agencies.
However, others are less sure, either because of restricted
staff or because of difficulties of identifying their own
agency contributions or because the situation in the countries
which they aid is not appropriate. From the partner governments
point of view, basket funding has to be handled by a financial
system creaking under the strain of managing the current inadequate
budget. Decentralisation simply adds to the complexity of
administration. From the agency side, the problem of accountability
to their own tax payer is ever present and the more intensive
policy dialogue required imposes strains on existing agency
of monitoring and evaluation has been raised over the last
decade. Firstly, there have been increasing attempts to introduce
assessment and testing procedures into schools in developing
countries for monitoring purposes although, in practice, agencies
have resorted to baseline surveys; secondly, there has been
increasing professionalisation in the organisation of evaluation
at the agency level, although the timelines for these still
leave a lot to be desired.
appears to have been a conclusive move away from scholarships
in the North and, to a lesser, but still substantial extent,
away from counterpart training via long term TA/TC. The majority
of agencies now emphasise institutional capacity building,
strengthening etc., although exactly what this entails is
not always clear. In practice, many focus on strengthening
the (financial) management and planning systems. There is
only limited evidence of successful capacity building throughout
the picture is mixed: a greater emphasis on basic education
but within declining commitments overall; clarification of
aims and policies but also some divergence; and continuing
difficulty in accountability.