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Which are the biggest aid donors to education?

GEM Report

The recent new policy paper by the GEM Report shows that aid to each of the three education levels – basic, secondary and upper secondary education – has grown in the latest annual release of data from 2018. The last blog on this site looked at where aid to education is being allocated. This blog examines who the main donors are and for what education level.

The United States and Norway have prioritized aid to basic education

Of total aid to basic education, DAC member bilateral donors accounted for 57%, non-DAC bilateral donors (such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates) for 11%, and multilateral donors for 32% in 2018. The United States, the World Bank, the United Kingdom and the European Union institutions together accounted for over 50% of total aid to basic education in 2016–2018.

The United States allocated US$1.3 billion to basic education in the period, more than twice as much as each of the other three donors, whose spending amounted to about $630 million on average. The bulk of the United States’ education aid (84%) is allocated to basic education, while the next three donors, as well as the two large non-DAC donors, allocated just half of their education aid to basic education; Germany and Japan allocate an even lower share.

Among the top 10 donors to basic education, only Norway has the same focus on basic education. These figures include, but do not distinguish, the amount of aid that bilateral donors channel through GPE. Analysis for this paper estimates that GPE may account for two-thirds of the growth in aid to basic education with unspecified recipients between the 2000s and 2010s, although this effect may have weakened in recent years.

A large share of the increase in aid to basic education in 2018 is explained by two countries, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which together gave US$627 million in 2018. This reflects their increased level of budget support to Yemen, of which 10% is assumed to be allocated to basic education according to the GEM Report methodology.

Overall, in 2018, funding from the United States and the World Bank, and to a lesser extent the United Kingdom, dominated aid flows to basic education in sub-Saharan Africa.

Flows from other bilateral donors were low, which may partly reflect relatively low spending by GPE in 2018. While the United States spreads aid to education relatively evenly across different countries, the World Bank and the United Kingdom have a clearer focus on countries with the largest populations. For instance, the largest single flow, worth US$143 million, was the World Bank’s support to basic education in Ethiopia.

Aid to secondary education, meanwhile, reached US$3 billion in 2018, again the largest amount ever recorded. Here, Germany is the largest donor: it allocated US$412 million on average in 2016–2018, slightly more than the World Bank, which disbursed US$405 million. Unlike in basic education, the Asian Development Bank, Japan and the Republic of Korea ranked within the 10 largest donors in this category, implying their aid priorities are placed on secondary education.

Aid to post-secondary education reached US$6.1 billion in 2018, also the largest sum on record. Germany and France are the largest donors at this level: they reported disbursements of US$1.5 billion and US$1 billion, respectively, on average per year between 2016 and 2018. Over 80% went to imputed student costs, however.  Germany spent 6% on scholarships and France spent 14%.

The new paper by the GEM Report shows that COVID-19 is likely to have a severe impact on many of these aid flows. The United Kingdom’s GDP is expected to fall by 10.2% in 2020, for instance, which could lead to a drop of US$100 million in its total aid to education. As donor countries reallocate funds to deal with increased unemployment and enterprise bankruptcies, aid volumes will inevitably be reduced – not least because some of the donors will suffer the consequences of reduced revenues from taxes or natural resources. Moreover, travel restrictions and continuing uncertainty will hamper the implementation of technical assistance programmes, despite increased needs to support the response to the pandemic, through distance learning mechanisms or the implementation of school reopening protocols. Donor priorities may shift to health or other emergency priorities. International student mobility, which accounts for US$3.1 billion of total aid to education, will be curtailed. Even without these final two effects, aid to education levels may not return to 2018 levels for another six years.


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Nigeria: Free basic education, not Almajiri system

Africa/ Nigeria/ 29.07.2019/ Source:

Although the Federal Government has been vacillating over the proscription of the Almajiri system practised mainly in the northern part of the country the directive by President Muhammadu Buhari to governors, the other day, seemed to have made any proposed soft landing for the Almajiri system superfluous. While the suspension of the proscription might have given some respite to supporters of the Islamic education system, the president’s charge to governors to enforce free basic education was an indirect castigation of the obnoxious practice.

It is somewhat curious that within 24 hours, three confusing statements about the same Almajiri and free basic education had hit the public space. While the National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno, suggested that the Federal Government was going to proscribe the Almajiri for security reasons, a quick reaction came from the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, stating that the government had no immediate plan to ban the Almajiri system. In the same breath, the president directed governors to enforce the provision of basic education. What kind of conceptual confusion on public policy is this at the highest level?

Despite confusing statements emanating from the presidency over what to do at the moment about the Islamic education system, it is gratifying that the same presidency was considering its proscription or some sort of overhaul. And perhaps the president’s charge to governors to enforce free basic education might be the way to overhaul that controversial practice.

When one considers the glaring absence of free basic education in Nigeria, the filthy, disease-prone, unhealthy environments that many children are nurtured, the incessant abuse they face and the absence of food, drinking water and adequate healthcare, one would begin to appreciate the frightful clarity of the bleak future befalling Nigerian children. For Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State, this is calamity befalling the children of the north. The point could not have been better made by one of the leading lights in the region, Governor el-Rufai.

The Kaduna State governor was recently quoted as saying: “Looking at the statistics, Nigeria appears to be a middle income country but if we segregate those statistics across states and zones, you will see that in terms of human development indicators, Nigeria consists of two countries. There is a backward, less educated and unhealthy Northern Nigeria and a developing, largely educated and healthy southern Nigeria.”

No cultural practice captures this grim reality of northern Nigeria than the Almajiri system. In the faith-based education practice, for all the value it portends, one beholds in one clear relief the backwardness this system courts, after all. This system of Quranic education, which stated seven hundred years ago in the Kanem-Bornu empire, is so entrenched in the socio-cultural life of many states in northern Nigeria that it has now drawn government attention. So controversial has the  system been that it has also attained notoriety for being touted as one of those institutional problems financed by the government, just like the wasteful nomadic education project of former education minister, Professor Jubril Aminu.

Whereas in prominent Muslim countries like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, the elite send their wards to the Ivy League institutions in Europe and America, it is interesting to note that Nigeria is the only country where this practice is being promoted in this modern time. It is also paradoxical that some of the elite who support the system have their own wards educated and trained in some of the best educational institutions in and outside the country. This is hypocritical, unjust and callous.

Despite the glaring state of deprivation and abuse being faced by the Almajiris, some academics, supportive of Almajiricin (the Almajiri type of education) due to ethnic bias, have laboured to provide intellectual backing and search out beneficial justification for this practice. Some have argued that this Spartan training of Islamic acolytes have raised up some of the holy Mallams that have become spiritual directors to politicians and business men. Others have argued that the Almajiricin is a school of life that inculcates discipline, self-mortification and religious education. Such pundits have also explained that the value of the extremely austere living condition of the children and somewhat subterranean curriculum of the Almajiricin have been greatly misunderstood by the westernised mind.

Notwithstanding, the northern elite should not live in denial and breed an uncritical mass that would be used as cannon fodder for ethnic bigotry and religious intolerance. They should bear in mind that Nigeria is the only country where this obscure religious educational system is being encouraged. Well-meaning Nigerians, especially those from the north, should hold their state and local governments to ransom, and commit them to enforce free, quality basic education. It is for this reason that political actors from the north should give heed to the counsel of progressive leaders like the former Governor of Central Bank and now an Emir in Kano, Lamido Sanusi, who has consistently decried the poor quality of education of the children in the north, the widespread poverty and widening rich-poor gap in that part of the country.

Therefore, Nigerians should support the government in hastening the proscription of the anachronistic education system not mainly because of the abuse of the children themselves but also because of the consequences that educational disparity between the north and south pose for the security and overall well-being of the country.

If Quranic education is necessary to the socio-cultural wellbeing of its people, stakeholders should call for the establishment of standard educational centres where genuine, positive and transformational values of self-development and national growth could be achieved. They should adapt the models of progressive nations where this form of qualitative education has been adjudged beneficial to the overall development of a country.

Given that free basic education is a right, civil society organisations, faith-based associations and cultural groups should educate parents and parents-to-be on the task of responsible parenthood. Parenting is not only about the capacity to bring forth an offspring; it also entails the demand of parents to be responsible for the choices made. Often, many parents have resorted to religious injunctions and some misunderstood African traditions as justifications for the wanton violation of the rights of children. It, therefore, behoves the civil society to question the social value of such practices when they provide justifications for abuse under the guise of providing moral education.

To this end, government and relevant authorities should effectively enforce the Child Rights Act by ensuring that parents, caregivers and formal guardians who infringe on the rights of children are prosecuted. The right thing therefore at this time is enforcement of free basic education as guaranteed by even the organic law of the land.

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Can homeschooling replace formal education in Egypt?


Collection of testimonies and experiences of parents as well as educators on homeschooling

Alternatives to formal education are on the rise, homeschooling became one of the alternatives available to parents, allowing them a chance to offer a richer, more personalised educational experience than any of traditional school curriculum can.

Nouha Hafez, one of the parents –currently working in an academy offering homeschooling option– who decided tread on that path. She believes that homeschooling her son Ali, allowed him to be less stressed, and unleash his talents.

Another parent, Nesma share a similar view, Nesma felt the long hours her children spent at school with a poor curriculum and a lack of activities were of no benefit to them, and that now her daughter became more eager to study.

However, Egypt doesn’t recognise homeschooling, and the children has to be enrolled in a school, the only option available for them to be homeschooled, is to be enrolled in a school that allow them to enroll without attendance, they only need to go take the exams in such school.
According to Kamel Mogheith, an educational expert, modern technology made homeschooling more efficient, as social media allowed better communication between homeschooled students and their tutors.

Furthermore, Moustafa Farouk who currently is the head of an academy that offer homeschooling option to the parent, said that the idea started when he faced problems with the schools where her kids are enrolled at. So he decided to look for alternative options, and review the experience from different countries.

Another parent, says that his daughter personalty has changed, as she became more interested in learning, not out of fear of punishment, but instead she became eager to learn.

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Nigeria Has 10 Million Out-of-school Children, Says Education Minister

Africa/ Nigeria/ 06.05.2019/ Fuente:

Adamu Adamu, the Minister of Education, said the audit was part of the 2018/2019 Annual School Census, which was carried out by the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), National Population Commission (NPC), National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and other stakeholders.

Nigeria’s Minister of Education says it has conducted a National Personnel Audit of both public and private schools in Nigeria, which shows that the country has 10,193,918 out-of-school children.

Speaking at a conference in Abuja on Friday, Adamu Adamu, the Minister of Education, said the audit was part of the 2018/2019 Annual School Census, which was carried out by the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), National Population Commission (NPC), National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and other stakeholders.

Adamu, who was represented by Sonny Echono, Permanent Secretary of the ministry, said the census showed that the most endemic states affected by the out-of-school children were Kano, Akwa Ibom, Katsina,

Kaduna, Taraba, Sokoto, Yobe, Zamfara, Oyo, Benue, Jigawa and Ebonyi states.

The minister added that the Nigerian government had developed four strategic interventions on the out-of-school children, which are Special Education, Boy-Child Education, Girl-Child Education and Almajiri Sensitisation.

He said: “In 2015, conflicting figures of out-of-school children were being given, ranging from 10 to 13 million. We must acknowledge that the issue of data has constituted a stumbling block in terms of planning for the out-of-school children nationwide.

“However, UBEC, the NPC and the NBS worked together towards this common goal of determining the number of children of school age who are not in school. Based on the conducted National Personnel Audit of both public and private schools, Nigeria has out-of-school children population of 10,193,918.

“In the next four years, therefore, we shall concentrate efforts at increasing advocacy and sensitization of stakeholders at all levels, and improving synergy between stakeholders at all levels of basic education delivery»
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South Africa Education To Adapt To Digital Revolution

Africa/ Zambia/ 18.02.2019/ Source:

South Africa’s education system is to go through a radical overhaul in order to adapt to the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Under the Framework for Skills for a Changing World, which will be rolled out over the next six years, educators and learners are being trained to respond to emerging technologies such as robotics and artificial intelligence.

Several new technology subjects and specialisations will be introduced, including technical mathematics and technical sciences, maritime sciences, aviation studies, mining sciences and aquaponics.

To expand participation in technical streams, President Cyril Ramaphosa said several ordinary public schools will be transformed into technical high schools.

The President made these announcements at his second State of the Nation Address in Parliament on Thursday.

In addition to this, government will provide every school child in South Africa with digital workbooks and textbooks on a tablet device.

Already, 90% of textbooks in high enrolment subjects across all grades and all workbooks have been digitised.

“We will start with those schools that have been historically most disadvantaged and are located in the poorest communities, including multigrade, multiphase, farm and rural schools,” the President said.

ECD centres to fall under Basic Education

Government’s plan will also cut across Early Childhood Development (ECD).

With over 700 000 children accessing ECD in the last financial year, President Ramaphosa announced that the responsibility for ECD centres will migrate from Social Development to Basic Education.

Another critical priority will be improving reading comprehension in the first years of school by expanding the availability of early reading resources across the foundation phase of schooling.

“This is essential in equipping children to succeed in education, in work and in life – and it is possibly the single most important factor in overcoming poverty, unemployment and inequality,” the President said.

The department’s early grade reading studies have demonstrated the impact that a dedicated package of reading resources, expert reading coaches and lesson plans can have on reading outcomes.

Expanding access to higher education

Turning to government’s commitment to the right of access to higher education for the poor, the President said free higher education for qualifying first-year students will continue to be rolled out.

The scheme is being phased in over a five-year period until all undergraduate students who qualify in terms of the criteria can benefit.

Another key focus area for government will be stabilising the business processes of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme so it is properly capacitated to carry out its critical role in supporting eligible students.

“We call on student representatives and university authorities to work together to find solutions to the challenges that students are facing,” the President said, citing the latest clashes at the Durban University of Technology.

Students have been protesting that institutions of higher learning should allow those with historic debt to register along with the improvement of specific residences, and for allowances to be paid.

The protest saw students locking horns with the private security hired by the institution.

Twenty-year-old Mlungisi Madonsela was caught in the crossfire and died in hospital after succumbing to his wounds.

The President called on law enforcement agencies to thoroughly investigate the incident.

“We are concerned about developments on some campuses this week, especially reports of violence and intimidation,” the President said before extending condolences to Madonsela’s family


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Minister wants to ‘decolonise’ education in South Africa

Africa/ South Africa/ 06.02.2019/ Source:

Basic education minister Angie Motshekga has called for a more ‘decolonised’ education system in South Africa – saying the current system needs to be amended to allow for diversification.

According to EWN, Motshekga made the comments on the sidelines of the Basic Education lekgotla in Boksburg on Monday, but gave very little in the way of expanding on the concept.

The ‘decolonisation of education’ was at the forefront of demands from students during the Fees Must Fall protests in 2016 and 2017, where students demanded that universities prioritise African studies, and overhaul the curriculum to serve African needs.

However, there has been no real consensus on what it means to decolonise education, with academics noting demands ranging from more African-centric subjects, to a complete overhaul of academia that rejects non-African, or ‘colonial’ studies.

According to Motshekga, the current education system should be amended, with more diverse subjects from high school right through to university. She described the current systems as “very colonial, British, academic”.

Changes to SA’s education system

Motshekga’s comments are generally in-line with the ANC’s latest election manifesto, which also calls for some major changes to the South Africa’s education system, including curriculum changes.

In the ANC’s 2019 manifesto, the party has called for changes to school curricula, predominantly to prepare for the fourth industrial revolution, but also to promote and implement indigenous language programmes, including the finalisation of language legislation in provinces for inclusion in the school curriculum.

Also included in the manifesto is a desire to put history as a key focus area. In December 2019, the department of education gazetted its plans to develop a new history curriculum – with some proposals to make the subject compulsory.

Moves have also already been made to open up access to universities, by doing away with the designated subjects list, and allowing matrics to get bachelor’s entry on a wider array of subjects.

Where a matriculant was previously required to meet the pass prerequisite from a subject list of 18 for bachelors entry at university – which included subjects like accounting, maths and science – they now need only to pass any of the approved 20-credit NSC subjects (excluding Life Orientation).

Academics have said that while it’s good to promote African-centric subjects and curricula, a balance needs to be struck so that the advances of modern medicine, education and science that originated elsewhere in the world aren’t abandoned.

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Over 10 Million Nigerian Children Are Reportedly Out Of School


A lot of African countries have been working hard to improve children’s access to basic education, but there’s still a lot left to be done. 32.6 million children of primary-school age and 25.7 million adolescents are still not going to school in sub-Saharan Africa. But worse, at over 10.5 million, Nigeria has the highest number of children out of school in the world.

According to UNICEF, Nigeria’s population growth has put pressure on the country’s resources, public services and infrastructure. With children under the age of 15 accounting for 45% of the 171 million population, the burden on education has become overwhelming.

And while primary school enrolment has increased in recent years, net attendance is only about 70% — which translates to Nigeria having over 10.5 million out-of-school children. 60% of those children are in northern Nigeria.

Not to mention that the increased enrolment rates have created challenges in ensuring quality education, as resources are spread more thinly. It is not rare to see cases where there are 100 pupils for one teacher, or where students learn under trees because of a lack of classrooms.

The Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, in January, claimed that the number of out-of-school kids in Nigeria dropped from 10.5 million to 8.6 million in the last three years:

«When President Buhari came into power in 2015, UNICEF said out-of-school children in Nigeria was about 10.5 million.

But I want to tell Nigerians that with the effort of this president, especially with the school feeding programme, it dropped from 10.5 million to 8.6 million as at last year.»

That’s untrue. and we need to face the fact that the Nigerian education system has undoubtedly failed millions of children. In north-eastern Nigeria, conflict has deprived many children of access to education. Teachers have been killed, and schools burned down or closed for security reasons.

It’s evident that the government cannot fix the educational sector alone, international and private intervention is urgently needed.

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