Named “Education Finance Watch” (EFW), the Global Education Monitoring Report shows the short-term impact of the coronavirus pandemic on education budgets around the world. Collected from a sample of 29 countries from all regions of the world, and representing 54% of the world’s school-age population, this report reveals that two-thirds of low- and middle-income countries have cut budgets for education. education since the start of the pandemic, compared to a third in middle, upper and high income countries.
According to the report, this picture is likely to worsen as the pandemic continues to plague the economy and tax revenues decline. Moreover, “these different trends significantly widen the already significant disparities in spending between low-income and high-income countries,” the report said. The proportion of 10-year-olds unable to read a short text adapted to their age was 53% in low and middle-income countries before Covid-19 against 9% for high-income countries. And, school closures related to the pandemic could drop that percentage from 53% to 63%.
“This is a critical moment when countries must catch up with the learning losses caused by the pandemic, invest in upgrading and use this window of opportunity to build more efficient, equitable and resilient systems”, said Mamta Murthi, World Bank Vice President for Human Development.
In this sense, the report specifies the importance of increasing spending on education after the crisis, in order to correct the losses in learning and the loss of students. These aids must above all be external. For Stefania Giannini, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Education, “external funding is essential to support educational opportunities for the poorest in the world”.