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Make education an urgent global priority!

Students at the San Juan Villa Nueva School excitedly write their messages to their sponsors in the UK during Action Aid's annual message collection,

On 19th September 2022, for the first time ever, global leaders are gathering in New York for a summit focused only on education. The UN’s Transforming Education Summit is a recognition both of the scale of the global crisis in education and of the urgent need to transform public education systems in the face of a changing world.

In his opening speech at the summit, UN Secretary General, António Guterres, observed that education can be transformative, and therefore education budgets must be protected to guarantee the right to education. He highlighted that education must be a government’s priority for investment, and underlined that the international community also had a role to play.

David Archer, Finance Convenor for the Transforming Education Summit and Global Lead for Economic Justice and Public Services at ActionAid, says:

“While this summit sends a clear message that education needs to be a global priority, the stark truth is that nothing will change unless governments agree to transform economic systems to increase the financing of education. This is the agenda we have laid out in the finance track for the Transforming Education Summit.

Rather than only increasing aid, which is of course important, the global community now also needs to address the biggest obstacles to education funding: tax, debt and austerity. These policies often lead to fewer teachers being employed, and make it harder to attract new teachers even where there are shortages, because of low pay and poor working conditions.

We ultimately need an overhaul of economic systems for the benefit of education. This will only happen if governments change their mindsets so that education spending is seen as an investment and not just as pure consumption.

Unfortunately, one key person who could help to make the necessary transformations, is missing from this dialogue. The Managing Director of the IMF, Kristalina Georgieva, who was invited, withdrew at short notice. Yet nothing will change for education financing until the policies and practices of the IMF start to change.”

ActionAid has spokespeople attending the UN Transforming Education Summit who are available for interviews. For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact the ActionAid International media team on