Doha summit probes education funding options
Doha, December 11, 2010
Over 1,200 delegates discussed how best to address and overcome challenges facing education systems and such difficulties at a recent global summit in Doha.
“Business as usual is not working. Aid disbursements to basic education have stopped increasing for the first time since 2000 – stagnating at US$4.7 billion in 2008,” Irina Bokova, director-general, UNESCO, at the World Innovation Summit for Education – WISE.
“Education is the way to invest out of the economic crisis. We must explore tangible proposals for innovative financing as decisions we take now will lay the foundations for the century ahead. In this light, the starting point must be to demonstrate that education plays a central role in employment creation, income generation and poverty reduction. Quality education also promotes better health, democratic participation, gender equality and environmental sustainability,” she added.
Steen Jorgenson, World Bank sector director said: “The way ahead will entail a shift in focus.”
“Where the emphasis had typically been placed on an engineering approach to reform, such as building more schools and training more teachers, now incentives to better align inputs and performance with results and accountability are to be given priority. Innovative financing clearly has a role to play in this shift.”
The three fundamental principles for funding the education sector raised at the global summit were:
• Protection of education budgets: It will be critical for national governments to protect their education budgets and invest in education as a solution to economic uncertainty.
• Value for money: Educators must demonstrate that education is vital for economic recovery and that investment in education will result in a substantial return through increased employment and poverty reduction.
• Future financing: Education requires innovative financing to secure the long term future and viability of projects. Innovative financing of education must happen in two ways: funds should be raised innovatively and they should be disbursed in innovative ways.
Regarding the future financing of education, Bokova cited the leading group on Innovative Financing for Development’s task force on education, which identified a tax on international financial transactions – a 0.005 per cent on transactions between four major currencies could raise $30 billion a year.
Local currency education bonds, an education venture fund, debt swaps for education, public-private partnerships, and micro-donations from bank transactions were also identified as viable financing mechanisms which could be implemented without great difficulty. – TradeArabia News Service