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Financing education

People protesting for education funding

According to the latest UNESCO figures, a total of 263 million children and youth are out of school across the world, and many of those who do attend fail to learn basic skills. Due to a lack of funding, public schools are in decline in many countries, contributing to the exclusion of the poorest and most marginalised. Lack of funding is not the only problem in education, but it is a huge challenge. If it remains unaddressed, ensuring inclusive and equitable learning for all children by 2030 will not be possible.  

ActionAid’s 4S framework for education financing provides guidance on the ways governments across the world can sustainably and progressively increase funds allocated to public education by: 

  • Increasing the size of the national budget overall. Each year developing countries are losing an estimated US$138 billion in tax breaks, and around US$200 billion through companies avoiding their taxes altogether. It would only take a fraction of this amount to put all children not currently in school through 12 years of quality education.
  • Increasing the share of the education budget, at least 20% should be spent on education.
  • Enhancing scrutiny of the budget – so we know where the money is going and where it ends up in practice, through budget tracking / monitoring. 
  • Improving the sensitivity of the budget – so it follows an equity criteria, is gender-responsive and inclusive.

ActionAid is putting this framework into action as part of its wide portfolio of education programming and advocacy work across the world. This includes two specific multi-country education projects focussed on seven countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

The Tax, Privatisation and the Right to Education project brings together Ghana, Kenya and Uganda working towards a common goal, which is to ensure that all children have improved access to public education of a high standard, financed through greater government support and increases in fair tax revenue. You can see the project leaflet, the first phase report and the research on private education in compliance with the right to education.

Breaking Barriers: Tax Justice & Gender Responsive Public Services is a four year, Norad-funded multi-country project which seeks to address some of the key barriers that prevent children, especially girls and vulnerable children from enjoying their right to free, quality, inclusive public education Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria and Tanzania. You can download a leaflet about the project here. You can also see short videos about this project here, here and here.

You can watch short videos about these projects below.