We, education advocates from the Asia-Pacific, believe that while the region is diverse there are cross-cutting issues that affect us all in relation to development assistance, and in particular development assist ance for education. In the current global economic circumstances we wish to draw attention to the ability of the large financial institutions and wealthy governments to protect themselves from the worst effects of the crisis. Undeniably, however, it is poor countries and poor people who feel the effects dramatically and we demand governments and donors at this time to fulfill their previous commitments to the Education for All (EFA) agenda and protect the weak and fragile states from the worst impacts of financial meltdown as they have done for themselves. A plethora of issues continue to plague the education sector and we take this opportunity to remind both donors and recipient national governments that costs of not meeting the EFA targets are high and that education cannot be traded off against other imperatives.
We call on donor governments to adhere to the Dakar framework for financing education plans of partner governments. The Education For All (EFA) goals clearly articulate six areas of education that are to be the focus of donor support in the education sector. Early childhood care and education, universal primary education, support for youth and adult lifelong learning opportunities and life skill opportunities, significant improvement in adult literacy outcomes, gender equity at all levels of education, and quality in education for all are the achievement targets for 2015 which have presently fallen out of sharp focus. The Asia-Pacific region has made progress in relation to these goals but remains off-track to accomplish the EFA goals by the 2015 deadline and much remains to be done to reverse the present situation. Without slowing momentum towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), we seek to remind donor governments that there has been a specific articulation of a framework for engagement on education and the stipulations of this
framework must guide overseas development assistance (ODA) for education. The six EFA goals are significantly inter-linked and the accomplishment of any of them requires action on all of them. Recognizing this indivisibility, we ask governments to take the six goals together as a plan of action and not prioritize one or another of the goals to the detriment of any of the others.
We ask donors and recipients to mobilize resources to close the resource gaps that are estimated by the Global Campaign for Education (GCE) at USD $16 billion per year. For donor countries this entails providing an aid budget that meets the internationally agreed benchmark of 0.7 % of Gross National Income (GNI) immediately, In addition, we ask that 15 % of total aid be allocated to the education sector, to signal the serious commitment donors are making towards achieving the levels of increased support that have become part of their regular statements on education in recent years.
A few countries like Norway (0.95), Sweden (0.93), Luxembourg (0.90), Denmark (0.81) and Netherlands (0.81), are already funding aid programs even beyond agreed levels and these provide evidence that it is neither domestically burdensome nor impossible. Sadly, donor countries to the region, with heftier GNl‘s like Japan and the US, have devoted the lowest levels of ODA for years – most recently at 0.17 and 0.16 of their GNl‘s respectively – and this even before the global financial crisis erupted.
In a similar manner we remind recipient governments that the international agreements place primary responsibility for education with them. As such, we ask that recipient national governments demonstrate their commitment to education by funding the sector to at least 6 % of GDP or at least 20 % of the national budget. Provision of resources to at least these levels as well as investments made to fill the teacher-gap of around three million annually should also improve retention and completion rates.
Good governance is key to the achievement of quality ODA and requires implementation at all levels including at the donor, recipient government and local levels. Donors as well as recipients must ensure the adequacy and quality of the aid they give and receive. The framework for donors is the Paris Principles on Aid Effectiveness; as such, donor programs should engage national governments with the intention of: reflecting the priorities of the recipient government, ensuring local ownership, and making certain that programs and policies are harmonized amongst all donors working in-country, Ensuring transparency and accountability will also enable monitoring and evaluation mechanisms to determine how aid reaches all levels including the most marginalised and how quality is being guaranteed through effective teaching forces, competent government machinery, and sufficient education-management professionals. CSOs and the community more broadly need access to information so that they may engage with and participate in ODA utilization processes, among others, to ensure that aid a country receives does not become prey to corruption and anomalous implementation. Hence, it is important that a good governance agenda includes a measure of capacity building support to civil society to be effective monitors, as well as development education for the broader community to ensure meaningful stakeholder participation.
ODA for Education Commitments for Asia·Pacific Countries, 2006
| Total Aid to|
| Share of Educ|
in Total ODA
|Subtotal Educ ODA for ASEAN countries||906|
Other East Asia
|TImor l'este||31||35 |
|Korea Rep||0||N/A |
|Marshall lslands||13||23 |
|Papua New Guinea||34||11 |
|Solomon Islands||4||2 |
|Subtotal Educ ODA for Pacific (select countries)||107|
|Subtotal Educ ODA for South Asia||984|
Source: EFA Global Monitoring Report 2009
As we ask donors and national governments to take seriously the stipulations of good-governance, we further seek to remind national governments that the primary responsibility for the education sector belongs to them. It is therefore, necessary for national governments to ensure their own ability to engage donors in a framework of their priorities and advocate for resources to meet their needs. Education plans must be developed with measureable, time-bound, and costed programs, integrated within anti-poverty frameworks programs that will ensure the achievement of all of the EFA goals by 2015. Bearing in mind the indivisibility of the EFA goals, and noting that mid-way to EFA, the most neglected of these priorities currently are early childhood education, adult literacy, and life skills and lifelong learning opportunities for youth and adults, governments can demonstrate renewed political will to achieve all of the EFA goals by ensuring that national education sector designs include time-bound and costed strategies for achieving these targets. In particular, governments need to examine where they are vis-a-vis the global advocacy to reserve 6 % of the education budget for adult education, half of which (3 %) should be allocated to adult literacy.
We call on the donor community and the World Bank to undertake key reforms on the EFA Fast Track Initiative (FTI), to make it more responsive and reach out to more countries In need of resources to meet ALL the EFA goals. Specifically, we ask for the expansion of the FTI coverage beyond the two education MDGs (#2 Universal Primary Education and #3 Gender Equality in Education) to include the full EFA agenda. Noting that 2015 is just around the corner, we ask FTI to accelerate and broaden its coverage to Include countries in conflict or post-conflict situation and those that are at risk of not meeting the EFA because of poverty, disparity, untenable debt servicing and chronic fiscal binds. We ask the FTI to go beyond the catalytic fund. In line with these reforms we ask the World Bank to guarantee that funds are made available on a predictable basis and to improve fund utilization, decision-making processes and system efficiency. Along this line, we recommend a reformed FTI steering committee that is more decisive, adhering to clear, democratic and transparent processes. We believe that to bring about change to the current structure of the FTI, providing a measure of distance between the Bank and the FTI may be required.
Finally, we seek to remind donors that for the most effective development results in partner countries, ODA must be an actual transfer of resources and fresh funds.
Without negating the reality that development assistance is guided by national priorities of donor countries, we argue that a true resource transfer will have more dividends and that better impacts in partner countries will offer significantly increased opportunities to donor governments as well. In this spirit we call on donor governments to eschew aid-giving where the resources are quickly funneled back to the donor government. Included in this are high levels of education aid given as scholarships for students in partner countries to study (exclusively) in the donor country, aid given as loans rather than as grants, and tied as opposed to untied old.
Likewise, debt cancelation will ensure that partner countries‘ budgets are not dominated by loan repayments and domestic resources can be put towards the accomplishment of the MDGs, EFA goals, and other internationally agreed upon outcomes. Canceling debt and increasing the share of aid given as grants rather than loans gives domestic governments the greatest opportunity to leverage resources at home to contribute to the development of various sectors.
Thus, a twin-strategy today of true resource transfers and increased ownership by development partners will give meaning to aid-giving in real terms tomorrow – a global strategy for sustainability.
Asia South Pacific Association for Basic and Adult Education (ASPBAE) Real World Strategies Programme ODA Asia Forum Secretariat Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP) – SENCA Asian NGO Coalition for Agrarian Reform and Rural Development Campaign for Popular Education (CAMPE, Bangladesh) Civil Society Network for Education Reforms (E·Net Philippines) Coalition for Educational Development (CED, Sri Lanka) E-Net for Justice (Indonesia) National Coalition for Education (NCE, India) Pakistan Coalition for Education (PCEl Shanti Volunteer Associationliap NGO Network for Education (JNNE, Japan) NGO Education Partnership (NEP, Cambodia)
Papua New Guinea Education Advocacy Network (PEAN, PNG )
Coalition for Education in Solomon Islands (COES! )
Global Campaign for Education (GCE) in Nepa l
ODA Watch Philippine s
Social Watch Philippine s
Freedom from Debt Coalition (Philippines )
Action for Economic Reforms (Philippines )
Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movemen t
AKBAYAN (Philippines )
Arugaan (Philippines )
ASSERT (Philippines )
Development Action for Grassroots Learning and Empowerment (Philippines )
Education for Life Foundation (Philippines )
Eskwelahan Sang Katawhan Negros (ESKAN, Philippines )
Global Call to Action Against Poverty – Philippine s
Kabataan Kontra Kahirapan (Youth Against Poverty, Philippines )
KMBM (Philippines )
KPAClO, Inc. (Philippines )
Mamituran Development Foundation, Inc. (Philippines )
Notre Dame Foundation for Charitable Activities – Women in Enterprise Development (Philippines )
People‘s Empowerment for Popular Education (Philippines )
People‘s Initiative for Learning and Community Development (PILCD, PhIlippines )
Philippine Rural Reconstruction Youth Associatio n
Piglas Kababaihan (Philippines )
PINASAMA (Philippines )
Public Services Labor Independent Confederation (Philippines)
Student Council Alliance of the Philippines
Sentro ha Pagpauswag ha Panginabuhi, Inc. (SPP or Center for Local Economy Development, Philippines)
Teacher‘s Dignity Coalition (Philippines)
Teachers and Employees‘ Association for Change, Education Reforms and Solidarity, Inc. (TEACHERS, lnc., Philippines)
Unang Hakbang Foundation (Philippines)
UNLAD Kabayan (Philippines)
Youth Against Debt (Philippines)
Youth for Nationalism and Democracy (Philippines)
Save the Children Sweden
Mr. Geoffrey Odaga, Global Campaign for Education, Real World Strategies Global Coordinator
Ms. Chlkondi Mpokosa, Global Education Adviser, Oxfam Great Britain
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