“When I think of a good day in my life, I think of the day I started coming to school.” Gabriel, aged 13, Angola
The Global Monitoring Report (GMR) on Education for All launched today. This report gives an up-to-date review of the state of education worldwide. This year’s report focuses on a huge crisis: the neglect of education in conflict-affected fragile states.
According to the report, 28 million children are not in school and are surrounded by conflict and poverty (making up 42% of the global number of children out of school).
Many thousands of children are prevented from enjoying their right to an education when their schools are bombed, attacked or occupied by armed groups; many have witnessed attacks against their teachers, and many thousands have been directly attacked by soldiers, killed by road-side bombs or hit by cross-fire in or around schools. And many thousands of children miss out on school when an emergency strikes…
“Destroy a school, and the parents and kids do everything they can to keep open the doors to education,” Desmond Tutu said. “If only donors would show the same resolve and commitment.”
There is still a huge gap to be filled in delivering education to these children and in supporting educational systems to do so (both of which are possible and done on a daily basis). The report is clear on this: if the international community doesn’t act now, more children will be out of school by 2015, meaning we will be reversing progress made towards achieving MDG2 on universal primary education.
Select countries receive most funding in line with donor security priorities
Some of the world’s poorest and most fragile countries have been neglected in major donor agendas, with a select number of countries affected by conflict receiving most funding on education in line with donor national security priorities.
The report shows that the “development assistance flows to twenty-seven conflict-affected developing countries have increased over the past decade, reaching US$36 billion a year in 2007-2008. However, Iraq received one quarter of the total.”
How many millions of children are left out if donors are not ensuring education aid reaches countries in greatest need, where millions of children are not in school or enjoying a quality education?
Donors have a critical role in ensuring that children in conflict-affected fragile states — almost half of all out-of-school children — getting an education becomes a reality for everyone.
And so do States. Governments should commit to allocating at least 20% of their national budgets to education. The report shows that if countries devoting more resources to their military budgets than to primary education would cut military expenditure by 10% they could put a total of 9.5 million additional children in school. At the moment, not enough states affected by conflict are allocating enough resources to match their national and international commitments to ensure children go to school.