How does a lack of financial resources act as a barrier to enrollment and participation?
Lack of financial resources devoted to education can be evidenced in many ways, including: lack of schools and other facilities; insufficient classrooms; insufficient, underpaid, and/or insufficiently trained teachers; lack of management and supervision; lack of and/or poor quality textbooks and other learning materials; and insufficient attention to standards and quality assurance. Each and every one of these results of insufficient funding can act as a barrier to any child seeking a primary education.
By far, the greatest financial contribution to primary education comes from domestic funding—depending on the country, these may be from public (the most common) or private sources. When a country is poor, it probably will not have sufficient domestic funds to pay for the provision of a quality education for all.
External funding does contribute to the education funding gap in a number of countries, however, the EFA Global Monitoring Report (2013/14) notes that aid to education has stagnated in recent years. Donors have not lived up to the commitment that they made at the 2000 World Education Forum in 2000.
UNESCO estimates the annual education financing gap at US $26 billion.
How pervasive is the problem of insufficient financial resources?
Lack of financial resources is a major reason that the decrease in out of school children has leveled off in the last 3-5 years.
It is generally accepted that countries should allocate 20% of their budgets to education. Globally, (including wealthy countries) only 15% of government expenditure was directed to education in 2011, often with a bias towards higher education. The EFA Global Monitoring Report (2013/14) notes that 25 countries, many with very high numbers of OOSC, dedicate less than 3% of GNP to education rather than the recommended 6%.
The problem of insufficient financial resources is further exacerbated by the need for sustained economic growth, particularly in poor countries, and the existence of ways and means to ensure distribution of resources including fiscal policy, tax systems and budget reforms.
EAC, with its partner Results for Development, has also documented the high cost of OOSC to countries, which, if addressed, could result in a much more efficient and effective use of funds that are invested in education. Read more: Costs of not educating OOSC (2013), Exclusion from Education: the Economic Cost of Out of School Children in 20 Countries.
Examples of EAC partners efforts to compensate for lack of financial resources in education systems.
Within the programs that EAC and its partners support there are efforts to compensate for the barriers that OOSC face due to lack of sufficient financial resources at the national level.
In Thailand/Myanmar Save the Children provides financial support to families to offset direct and opportunity costs in accessing education. In Somalia, CARE is providing 1500 girls with conditional education grants. Both IRC in Cote d’Ivoire and CARE in Haiti are operating Village Savings and Loans with conditions for providing for education expenses. In India, the Bharti Foundation provides uniforms and meals to all students. The IRC in the Democratic Republic of Congo, The Citizens Foundation in Pakistan, and CARE in Somalia provide scholarships to students.
- UNESCO, 2014. Teaching and Learning: Achieving quality for all.