Since the outbreak of the global financial and economic crisis in late 2008/early 2009, UNESCO has monitored the impact of the crisis on the education sector of its Member States. An initial exploratory study conducted in 50 developing countries showed that, despite examples of protectionist measures for education, damages to education budgets were already evident as early as March 2009. Further research conducted in 12 countries during August–September 2009 indicated that all 12 countries experienced an economic slowdown in 2009; a decline in government revenues and budget cuts were observed in 2008 and 2009.

After the initial review of the impact on public expenditures in education, a second series of studies focused on an area little examined in the literature: the magnitude and nature of the impact of the crisis on day-to-day school activities, teachers and parents, as well as their ability to adjust to the difficulties brought about by the crisis.

Initial findings suggest that in general, public expenditures for education, especially in low-income countries (LICs) and developing nations remain largely stable. Donors have responded to the crisis by scaling up social programs to counter externalities. Despite these increases, donors need to bridge a financing gap of US$16 billion a year for basic education, of which current aid comprises US$ 3 billion. Moreover, private capital flows to LICs and developing nations has dropped drastically, and this could have profound effects on education. In the face of economic pressures, education challenges such as access, social and gender parity, and quality are all the more evident. In particular, learners from poor households and vulnerable groups are most likely to be affected.

It is expected that the information available on this site will enable Member States to address emerging education challenges pertaining to the aftermath of the crisis.

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