Report compiled in collaboration with UNESCO’s Global Education Monitoring
Sixty-five per cent of low and lower-middle income countries slashed education budgets after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, while only 33 per cent of high and upper-middle income countries did so, according to a report by the World Bank.
The sample covered 29 countries across all regions, representing 54 per cent of the global school and university aged population. The data collected was verified with World Bank country teams.
The report, compiled collaboratively with UNESCO’s Global Education Monitoring (GEM), said the current levels of government spending on education recorded in low and lower-middle income countries fall short of the minimum amount required to fulfil the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The sample comprised three low-income countries (Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Uganda); 14 lower-middle-income countries (Bangladesh, Egypt, India, Kenya, Kyrgyz Republic, Morocco, Myanmar, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Tanzania, Ukraine, Uzbekistan); 10 upper-middle-income nations (Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Jordan, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Peru, Russia, Turkey); and two high-income countries (Chile, Panama). Of these, Argentina, Brazil, Egypt, India, Myanmar, Nigeria, Pakistan and Russia have education shares below 10 per cent and are more likely to have other financing sources besides the budget assigned by the central government.
The report added that responding to the COVID-19 crisis requires additional expenditure to ensure necessary safety measures and to fund programmes that make up for the loss in learning for students. It is unclear whether counties seeing a decline in their education budget will be able to cover these costs, along with regular increase in funds required to educate the growing school-age population.
Households in low and lower-middle income countries tend to contribute a greater share of the total education spending as compared to those in upper-middle and high-income countries.
Household expenditure on education as a share of GDP has increased in low- income countries and households still contribute significantly to the cost of education.
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