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Pre-primary Education Continues to be Chronically Underfunded as Wealthiest Nations Drift Further from 10% Aid Goal, Says Report


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International aid for pre-primary education has fallen further from an agreed spending target of 10% since the coronavirus outbreak, according to new research.

The report, compiled by academics at the University of Cambridge for the global children’s charity, Theworld, highlights an “ongoing and chronic” underfunding of pre-primary education in many of the world’s poorest countries, after years of slow progress and cuts linked to the pandemic.

It is widely understood that early childhood education is essential for the cognitive and social development of children and for breaking cycles of poverty in poor countries. In 2017, Cambridge Research produced their world for UNICEF Officially recommend That 10% of education aid should be allocated to pre-primary education. Last year, 147 member states of the United Nations signed the agreement a permit target approval.

According to the findings of the new report, aid spending is well below this target and any progress towards the target stalls after the outbreak of COVID-19. The most recent figures, from 2021, show that the proportion of educational aid spent on pre-primary education internationally during the pandemic decreased by about US$19.7 million: from 1.2% to 1.1%.

The report identifies several reasons for the decline, notably spending cuts by the World Bank’s International Development Association, European Union institutions, and governments of rich countries, such as the United Kingdom.

“Hundreds of millions of children around the world are missing out on high-quality pre-primary education despite clear evidence that prioritizing it will improve their life chances,” said Professor Pauline Rose, Director of the Research Center for Equitable Access and Learning (REAL) at the University of Cambridge’s College of Education. The year is very worrying.”

“Although there has been some progress towards the 10% target, it is starting from a very low base. Other levels of education continue to be a priority amid a general decline in aid spending. International commitments to pre-primary education are good, but we need action.”

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 2030 includes The ambition to provide all children with appropriate childcare and pre-primary education. Over the past seven years, Theworld and the REAL Center have systematically monitored aid spending, tracking progress toward this goal.

The new report was compiled using the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development credit report systemwhich collects information about aid contributions from both individual countries and international agencies such as UNICEF and the World Bank.

It shows that over the past two decades, the percentage of expenditure on educational assistance allocated to pre-primary education has not exceeded 1.2%. Between 2020 and 2021, spending on this sector decreased from $209 million to $189.3 million: a decline of 9.4%, compared to a 6.9% decrease in educational aid overall, and a 0.9% decrease in total aid spending. In 2021, aid spending on post-secondary education – the vast majority of which does not leave donor countries – was 27 times higher than on pre-primary education, despite the need for investment in the early years being widely recognized.

However, the report also shows that the 10% target is achievable. UNICEF, which has consistently prioritized pre-primary education, spent 30% of its education aid budget on this sector in 2021. Italy increased spending from $2.6 million to $38 million. The majority of this has been allocated to the National Strategy for Human Resources Development, which focuses on supporting the Jordanian government in strengthening its educational system.

Research shows that pre-primary aid is highly concentrated by a few donors, making early childhood development in poor countries particularly vulnerable to sudden fluctuations in these donors’ spending.

For example, much of the drop in spending caused by the pandemic occurred because the World Bank cut its investment in pre-primary education from $122.8 million to $70.7 million. Other donors, such as Canada, the European Union foundations, France, Norway and the United Kingdom, have also cut spending in this area. In 2021, eight of the 35 largest donors to education are committing no money to pre-primary education at all.

The UK’s contribution has been lackluster relative to the world’s sixth largest economy, in part because of the government’s contribution Controversial decision To cut total aid spending from the UN-recommended target of 0.7% of GNI to 0.5%. Between 2020 and 2021, its educational assistance spending decreased from $703.67 million to $584.95 million. Pre-primary aid has been hit hard, dropping from an already low $5.6 million in 2020 to just $1.8 million in 2021, equaling just 0.3% of the reduced education aid budget.

The report also shows that spending on pre-primary education tends to focus on lower-middle-income countries rather than the poorest. In 2021, only 15% of aid in this area went to countries classified as “low-income,” while 52.7% was allocated to lower-middle-income countries.

As a result, some of the world’s least advantaged children have little chance of receiving pre-primary support. For example, Eritrea and Sudan received no aid for pre-primary education in 2021. In many other poor countries—such as the Central African Republic, Chad, Niger, and Syria—the value of aid per child of primary school age was less than $5. .

Rose said the findings point to the need for a “progressive universal” model, in which those most in need receive a larger share of aid spending. “The largest gaps are found in the poorest countries, particularly among the poorest and least advantaged,” she said. “Increasing spending on pre-primary education alone will not be enough. We also need to make sure that we prioritize those who need it most.”

The full report will be available at their website.

Provided by the University of Cambridge

the quote: Report: Pre-primary education chronically underfunded as richer countries drift away from 10% aid target (2023, May 16), Retrieved May 16, 2023 from https://phys.org/news/2023- 05-pre-primary -simultaneously underfunded-richest-Nations.html

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