Social services

Background

Education financing to reach the most marginalised: Challenges and solutions during COVID-19 response and recovery

31 March 2021 | Minutes

Argentina Education Minister Nicolás Trott speaking during the CSPF event on 31 March.

This virtual Civil Society Policy Forum session on 31 March 2021 was sponsored by the Bank Information Center, Education Cannot Wait, Humanity & Inclusion, Global Campaign for Education, Global Partnership for Education, Inclusive Education and Early Childhood Community of Practice, Open Society Foundations and World Vision International.

Panellists

  • Moderator: Camilla Croso, Director of Education, Open Society Foundations
  • Nicolás Trott, Minister of Education, Argentina
  • Alice Albright, CEO, Global Partnership for Education
  • Yasmine Sherif, Executive Director, Education Cannot Wait
  • Vernor Muñoz, Head of Policy, Advocacy and Campaigns, Global Campaign for Education
  • Jaime Saavedra, Global Director for Education, World Bank
  • Fabio Segura, Co-CEO of Jacobs foundation

Introductory remarks

Vernor Muñoz, Head of Policy, Advocacy and Campaigns, Global Campaign for Education

  • Education is first a human rights, for all people in all cases, including emergencies
  • Pandemic impact on education huge, not just schools closing but for people without disabilities, for those who lack internet access.
  • Has put SDG agenda at risk, especially the right to education. 1.5 billion learners in 200 countries where schools have closed.
  • Just revealed exclusion in education that was there before.
  • Governments should put maximum resources they can to right to education, international political frameworks: Incheon Declaration states that all countries should allocate efficiently at least 4-6 per cent of GDP and 15- 20 per cent of total public expenditure to education.
  • UNESCO total annual financing gap for education $39 billion.
  • IFIs should prioritise low-income and fragile countries, and should not lend to countries in high risk of debt distress during the pandemic.
  • Private sector can contribute but it should not lead the education, it is a state centred obligation.
  • Urgent recommendations: States and international community must ensure the continuity of learning for all persons; closing digital gap; set national budget including continued payment and incentives of teachers and school staff: 1) increasing the share of the budget for education 2) increasing the size of the budget overall 3) increasing the sensitivity of budgets to response to the most marginalised 4) increasing scrutiny of budgets. This requires tax justice schemes and a fundamental shift in terms with how the private sector interacts.
  • International architecture on education should be strengthened. GPE and Education Cannot Wait (ECW) can get resources needed to support fragile and low-income countries.
  • International community should consider debt cancellation and debt relief to unlock funds for education.
  • Opportunity for everyone to review privatisation of education and strengthen public education systems.

Session

Camilla Croso, Director of Education, Open Society Foundations (moderator)

  • Question: What efforts are being made in Argentina to protect the education budget during these challenging financial times?

Nicolás Trott, Minister of Education, Argentina

  • Pandemic devastating for education. For a year, most of our schools were closed.
  • This year, we made the largest increase in public funding for education in 50 years
  • Investment in education has grown quickly, including early childhood education and new technology, teacher training.
  • Focus on strengthening educational trajectories of poorest
  • Education justice law to bring educational finance to 8 per cent of GDP

Camilla Croso, Director of Education, Open Society Foundations (moderator)

  • Question: Tell us how the Bank’s education financing is reaching the poorest and most marginalised, including girls, children with disabilities and refugees?

Jaime Saavedra, Global Director for Education, World Bank

  • Great that we start with inspiring example of Argentina, that has not only protected but recognising need to increased resources for education.
  • Need two-pronged approach: 1) to ensure kids come back to education and return to the learning process 2) make sure that countries build a better and more equitable system.
  • 2/3rds low and middle income countries are reducing education budgets.
  • World Bank increased education financing – remote learning, conditional cash transfers for girls and refugees. IDA grants last year were roughly $3billion.
  • The Bank can leverage reforms that require political will from countries like we have seen in Argentina.
  • It is about resources but also political will.

Camilla Croso, Director of Education, Open Society Foundations (moderator)

  • Question: Trend of countries having budgets reduced, GPE replenishment conference and Education Summit which is coming up at the end of July. How is GPE mobilising action on education financing and the impact?

Alice Albright, CEO, Global Partnership for Education

  • First time in decades, more children sent to work than to school.
  • Calling on world leaders to pledge at least $5 billion to GPE in upcoming summit. But financing needs for education far exceeds $ 5 billion.
  • Taking action to 1) safeguard education investments as part of overall recovery efforts – both health and education, not either or. 2) Protect and increase domestic financing for education 3) Boost international aid, before Covid-19 was stagnating, we can’t risk it falling even further behind.
  • We expect to leverage an additional $3 billion in donor financing.

Camilla Croso, Director of Education, Open Society Foundations (moderator)

  • Question: How are you supporting action to support the most marginalised?

Yasmine Sherif, Executive Director, Education Cannot Wait

  • We support children caught in conflict or climate induced disasters.
  • When you operate in crisis country, you cannot reply on domestic finance alone because of disintegration of governance. To have a proper recovery effort, you need a whole of system approach. Education alone cannot stand on its own. For us ODA and private sector financing most important.
  • If multi-year resilience programmes properly funded, we could reach 16 million children left furthest behind from SDG4, Matter of financing only.
  • ECW: In economic recession, we have revised ask to donor partners to $400 million dollars in 2021-2, we can make a huge difference.

Camilla Croso, Director of Education, Open Society Foundations (moderator)

  • Question: What are some of the education priorities and shifts in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic?

Fabio Segura co-CEO of Jacobs foundation

  • Importance of remote learning. Probably largest experiment in education last 100 years.
  • Participation of investors in financing decisions

Camilla Croso, Director of Education, Open Society Foundations (moderator)

  • Question: If you could focus on your perspective on tax justice?

Nicolás Trott, Minister of Education, Argentina

  • The path of resources and political will are what is necessary for our education system
  • Tax reforms that promote better distribution of accumulated wealth to create a public fund for welfare policies and defence of fundamental rights. Education justice law.
  • Education is the platform for justice and equality in Argentina.

Camilla Croso, Director of Education, Open Society Foundations (moderator)

  • Question: As countries cope with economic aftermath of the pandemic, could you reflect on the role of the World Bank is promoting an economic environment that allows countries to protect education spending?

Jaime Saavedra, Global Director for Education, World Bank

  • Inequality crisis and inequality in learning crisis.
  • Invest more in technology and close the digital divide, but it is not a magic wand. Needs to be combined with the human factor.
  • Public policy to support conditions of children at home
  • Role of teachers crucial -practical training
  • To do that, need a social contract to give those guarantees to children. Changes t tax structures that allow countries to financing a public education system. What is the path of tax revenues needed in countries for education for all?

Camilla Croso, Director of Education, Open Society Foundations (moderator)

  • Question: What are other mechanisms that can be triggered?

Fabio Segura, Co-CEO of Jacobs foundation

  • Private stakeholders, governments need to make the business case for SDGs. Example of Ivory Coast.

Camilla Croso, Director of Education, Open Society Foundations (moderator)

  • Question: What efforts you take to further target those with multiple layers of discrimination?

Yasmine Sherif, Executive Director, Education Cannot Wait

  • Important to apply humanitarian principles, make an objective assessment by working at the community level that we bring to government.
  • Focus on a whole child approach, including mental health

Camilla Croso, Director of Education, Open Society Foundations (moderator)

  • Question: Education high on agenda tis year. G7, GPE replenishment, summit. How do you see this set of opportunities for equitable and targeted financing?

Alice Albright, CEO, Global Partnership for Education

  • Education is unique in its ability to drive recovery.
  • G7 and girls education from UK government.
  • Generation Equality Beijing +25, degree of progress since Beijing is simply not good enough.
  • Education summit meeting in July 2021 co-hosted by Kenya and the UK. Opportunity to break out of our normal bubble, begin to focus of domestic finance and turn the corner.
  • Expo in the UAE, Rewired, on the future of education.
  • Opportunity to reboot how we think about education.

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