Making tax work for girls’ education: How and why governments can reduce tax incentives to invest more in girls’ education.

We are launching these documents at the Global Partnership for Education replenishment meeting in Senegal in February 2018. The Global Partnership for Education has set an important example in requiring developing countries to maintain or increase the share of national budgets allocated to education (towards the benchmark of 20%) but there is an urgent need to move beyond the narrow focus of arguing for a greater share of the budget for education. We need to focus also on the size of the domestic tax base. Action to address both the size of government revenues overall and the share spent on education, offers the best means to secure predictable and sustainable funding for education systems.

The evidence that we have collected shows that governments are giving away vast sums in what the IMF terms as harmful tax incentives and even just a portion of these sums, if allocated to education, could ensure all girls and boys have access to quality public education. Investing in girls’ education, in particular, yields dramatic economic returns over the long term - so investing in girls’ education today is not just a means to ensure one of their fundamental rights are fulfilled - it also makes very good economic sense.