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Education is central to development, as shown by the implementation of the Millennium Development Goal 2: Achieve Universal Primary Education by 2015, for boys and girls alike. Innovative financing can thus be viewed as a preferred tool for taking up this challenge.

Education and Innovative Financing

Education worldwide

Between 2000 and 2011, the number of out-of-school children dropped from 105 million to 67 million. Yet, at the present rate, 56 million children will still be denied access to school in 2015, among whom 23 million live in sub-Saharan Africa. Most of them come from poor homes, live in rural areas in conflict-affected countries, or belong to marginalized communities. Among those children, girls are especially affected. To achieve universal primary education, it would be necessary to recruit 3.2 million teachers, which represents additional financing in the region of $9.1 billion per year, and to build an additional 6.2 million schoolrooms at a unit cost averaging $13,500. Many countries also need to purchase teaching material. Since 2000, the share of Official Development Assistance (ODA) for education has remained stable at 12%, whereas the share for other sectors has increased, such as that for the health sector, which rose from 11% to 17%. Although the total aid volume has increased, education still requires substantial financing, which experts estimate at $16 billion per year, including $12 billion in government resources. Innovative financing is thus a unique opportunity for the education sector. In order to make innovative financing as effective as possible, it is important to view it in a comprehensive framework coming in addition to Official Development Assistance (ODA). Interconnecting innovative financing with ODA is the condition for stable long-term financing.

The importance of innovative financing for education

The main current argument in support of innovative financing mechanisms is based on the belief that those new resources will not only generate additional funds, but also create a virtuous circle of change in the education sector by increasing mobilization of national resources, improving aid effectiveness and furthering innovation.

International commitment

At the World Education Forum (Dakar, 2000), the countries present formulated six objectives that were partly included in MDGs 2 and 3 as determined at the UN General Assembly session of that year. The aim is to enable the achievement of a complete cycle of universal primary education and to abolish gender disparities at all levels of education by 2015. In 2010, the Education for All (EFA) Goals aroused special interest, particularly through the 1GOAL Campaign on the occasion of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa and the UN Millennium Summit on the 10th anniversary of the MDGs. In this context, the Leading Group on Innovative Financing for Development provided new impetus by setting up a Task Force on Innovative Financing for Education during its Seventh Plenary Session in Santiago, Chile, on 28-29 January 2010. The Leading Group’s secretariat is provided by France. The Leading Group on Innovative Financing for Education supports the idea that a strong commitment to educational issues is essential to achieve all MDGs. This initiative now brings together representatives of international organizations, including UNESCO, UNICEF, the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), representatives of the European Commission, Northern and Southern countries including Brazil, Chile, Germany, the United Kingdom and Senegal, and representatives of civil society (NGOs and private foundations). The United Nations 2010 MDG Summit outcome document reaffirmed that innovative financing was one of the solutions for achieving the MDGs by 2015 and noted the work of the Task Force on Innovative Financing for Education. The outcome document was signed by 192 States.

Le 16 mai 2012

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