The next education funding challenge: Raising $2.5 billion over the next three years
The Global Partnership for Education Pledging Conference (Copenhagen, 7-8 November 2011) took place to mobilize resources and political commitments to support education investment, notably towards providing access to and quality of education for all children.
Ministers and high-level officials from donor and developing countries, heads of UN agencies, CEOs from private companies and foundations, senior leaders from civil society organizations, teachers' unions, and development banks were among the over 200 participants from more than 40 countries who participated in the event.
At the World Education Forum in Dakar in April 2000, the international community pledged that: “no countries seriously committed to Education for All will be thwarted in their achievement of this goal by a lack of resources” (Article 10, Dakar Framework for Action).
However, although investment in basic education has increased, large funding gaps still hinder progress towards achieving the Education for All (EFA) goals by 2015 – and the effects of the economic and financial crisis have made the challenge all the more significant. There is also a need to improve the effectiveness of aid by ensuring that it is aligned with corresponding national priorities, as well as coordinating a diverse and complex set of sources of funding.
The Global Partnership for Education, formerly called the EFA Fast Track Initiative, was created to respond to these challenges and help low-income countries achieve the EFA goals. In the last ten years it has expanded its work from 7 developing countries to 46 partner countries, mobilized US$2.1 billion and allowed over 19 million children to attend school for the first time.
Its current target is to raise US$2.5 billion over the next three years. In so doing the Global Partnership for Education Fund will be able to provide 50 million new textbooks, train 600,000 new teachers and help enrol 25 million children in school. It will also help halve illiteracy among third graders in at least 20 countries, allow more children to complete primary school and contribute to fostering gender equality in education systems.