The case for investing in education is clear. Education is key to lifting children out of poverty, broadening their opportunities, and helping them to get a job and earn a decent wage. Education improves health outcomes, especially for women and girls, resulting in fewer child deaths and reducing the likelihood of child marriage.
Yet in many countries around the world there is a persistent funding gap for education, denying millions of children their right to a good-quality education.
An education financing crisis
There are 263 million children and young people currently out of school. Particular groups of children who are marginalised – such as girls and children with disabilities – are less likely to be going to school.
Even when children are in school, they are not necessarily learning. 250 million children are not learning – 130 million of whom have spent at least four years in school.
Through the Sustainable Development Goals, the world has made a promise to ensure inclusive, good-quality and equitable education for all by 2030. This is a promise we must deliver. But we will not even come close to achieving this goal unless we see a transformative step-change in education financing.
An unprecedented opportunity
This has been the key message from the International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity (the Education Commission), which was set up to make a powerful case for investing in education and outline innovative recommendations on how to do so. The members of the Education Commission include current and former world leaders, Nobel laureates, and leaders in the fields of education, business, health, economics and security. The launch of the Education Commission’s report represents a perfect storm of opportunity to galvanise world leaders to deliver on their promises on education.
Creating a learning generation
In response to this, the Global Campaign for Education UK (GCE UK) has published Creating a learning generation: The UK’s crucial role in financing quality for all. This briefing highlights the role the UK can play in ensuring the world delivers on its promises of good-quality and inclusive education. Earlier this week at an event with the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Global Education for All we launched the briefing in Parliament, with speakers including government minister Lord Bates, Education Commissioner Dr Amel Karboul, Alice Albright from the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), Pauline Rose from Cambridge University and Tanya Barron OBE for GCE UK.
Global Britain: building on our international leadership in education
The UK is a leading donor to global education and has an important role to play, building on its global leadership to date. The briefing focuses on four areas where we believe the UK needs to act:
- Support developing countries to raise more money through tax prioritising equitable funding to education in public spending.
- Continue its leadership role and over time increase its aid spending on education.
- Support education through multilateral institutions, such as the GPE and help them to reach the Education Commission’s recommended $2bn per year.
- Lead on prioritising learning, with a strong focus on marginalised groups such as children with disabilities, girls, and children from fragile and conflict affected states to ensure that no child is left behind.
Finally, the UK currently does not have a clear strategy on global education. We would like to see the UK develop a new global education strategy that acts on these recommendations, including setting out how it will direct education spending towards improving education systems and reaching the most marginalised out-of-school children. The strategy should also focus on the quality of education and ensuring children are learning.
The time is now
Children and young people around the world are counting on us – it’s time to put the warm words about the importance of education into action and investment. We have a once in a lifetime opportunity to put in place the financial resources needed to create a learning generation.