The figure above is from Save Our Future White Paper: Average share of public education resources reaching children from poorest and richest quintiles according to UNICEF calculations using the World Inequality Database on Education and UIS data.
Pre-primary school and conflict contexts may suffer the most from the pandemic
Despite strong evidence to show that good quality early childhood education is a key stepping stone to a child’s future success in school and beyond, and much policy rhetoric to emphasize its importance, governments and donors currently contribute a miniscule amount to the sub-sector – with the amount declining in recent years.
In 2017, donors only allocated 0.5% of their education aid to early childhood education. In the context of the pandemic, there is a serious concern that young children will lose out further, as governments are not paying sufficient attention to early childhood education during school closures and their recovery plans.
To add to this, before the pandemic, resources were not sufficiently reaching countries facing crises situations, whether due to conflict, natural disasters or climate change. Over the years, less than 2% of humanitarian aid has been spent on education due to a perception that education is not life-saving.
The emergence of the Education Cannot Wait fund has helped place a spotlight on the countries facing crises, and played a role in mobilizing resources for them. However, there are signs that the COVID-19 humanitarian response is once again failing education.
All of these issues about funding and how to target those who need it most, are vital for the GPE replenishment campaign. Not only do governments, donors and philanthropists need to get behind this campaign to make sure that funds for education are increased, but also distributed along lines of the progressive universalism approach.
This is the only way to ensure that a quality education is available for all in a post-pandemic world.